In the US, roughly 37.5 million adults have some degree of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing decide not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they require hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids enhances relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regretfully, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these benefits. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait so long.
The question is: if people are holding out 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally persuading them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it encourage us to deal with our own hearing loss earlier?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have prompted our patients to finally arrange a hearing test.
Here are the top five:
1. Not being able to hear the grandkids
Here’s one we’ve heard more than a few times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are frequently higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children especially tough to understand.
For that reason, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Over time, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this offers a powerful motivator to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both parties.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you speak too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about stress, and before you know it, you discover yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before booking a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first-hand that lots of problems could have been avoided if hearing loss were resolved faster.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t fully grasp what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many down a road of solitude.
It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to grab the phone and schedule a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a undesirable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a number of stories of people that reach their breaking point at work. Commonly they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to communicate louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and productive at work.
5. Concern about general health and well-being
Last but not least, people are becoming increasingly mindful of the health risks associated with hearing loss. While there are many ailments tied to impaired hearing, the most alarming relationship is that between hearing loss and dementia. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who maintain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait far too long to attend to their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users report that their lives have been enhanced with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your first hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar situation to attain the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.