In the US, about 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That implies that millions of Americans who could enhance their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being shown that they need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do choose to use hearing aids, the outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable.
Many studies have determined that using hearing aids improves relationships, boosts general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Regrettably, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never witness these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait such a long time.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before getting a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it motivate us to address our own hearing loss faster?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have inspired our patients to finally schedule 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 couple times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are typically higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly hard to understand.
As a result, 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 avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a powerful motivator to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is the reason hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.
If you have hearing loss, you might think everybody else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you speak too loudly or “selectively listen.” This produces tension, and before long, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve seen first hand that a lot of trouble could have been prevented if hearing loss were attended to sooner.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and involved can you really be if you can’t fully grasp what others are saying?
Many people with hearing loss lose their self-esteem and sociability when it’s much easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This leads many people down a road of solitude.
It’s this experience of isolation—and missing out on social events—that encourage people to pick up the phone and book a hearing exam. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a unfavorable way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard a myriad of stories of people that reach their breaking point at the job. Quite often they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their colleagues sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to remain silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is correlated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more confident and productive at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
And finally, people are becoming increasingly mindful of the health risks associated with hearing loss. While there are many conditions linked to impaired hearing, the most alarming connection 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 retain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that many people wait too long to address their hearing loss, even though the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you wear hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to schedule your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to attain the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.