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The curious thing concerning hearing loss is that, statistically, if you have it, you probably won’t acknowledge it or seek out care for at minimum five to seven years—potentially longer.

The statistics:

  • 20 percent of the United States population, or 48 million individuals, have some amount of hearing loss.
  • Of those with hearing loss, only 20 percent will seek out treatment.
  • Of those who do seek out treatment, they’ll wait 5 to 7 years before receiving a hearing test.
  • Of those that get a hearing test, they’ll wait, on average, 10 years after the established diagnosis before ordering hearing aids.

That means, on average, out of 100 people, 20 will have hearing loss. Out of those 20, only 4 will search for treatment. And those 4 individuals will wait 5 to 7 years before getting a test, after which they’ll wait an additional 10 years before acquiring hearing aids.

As a result,, in this sample of 100 individuals, 16 people will forgo enhanced hearing indefinitely, while the 4 that seek treatment will have wasted 15 years of better hearing and a superior quality of life.

Resistance to Finding Help

If you work in the hearing care profession, these numbers are frustrating. You’ve most likely joined the industry to help people—and with contemporary technology you know you can—yet the vast majority of people won’t even attempt to improve their hearing, or for that matter, even admit there’s a problem.

The question is, why do so many individuals throughout the US deny their hearing loss or abstain from pursuing help?

In our experience, we’ve identified the top reasons to be:

1. Hearing loss is progressive

Hearing loss commonly develops in minor increments over many years and isn’t detectable at any one specific moment in time. For instance, you’d notice an instant 20-decibel hearing loss, but you wouldn’t perceive a year-to-year loss of 1-2 decibels over 10 years.

2. Hearing loss is partial

High-frequency hearing loss (the most typical form) principally impacts higher frequency sounds. As a result, you may be able to hear low-frequency sounds normally, generating the impression that your hearing is healthy. The issue is, speech is high-frequency, so you may suspect that the speaker is mumbling when, the truth is, hearing loss is to blame.

3. Hearing loss is painless and invisible

Hearing loss is very subjective: it can’t be diagnosed by visual assessment and it’s not ordinarily accompanied by any pain or discomfort. The only way to appropriately quantify hearing loss is with a professional hearing test (audiometry).

4. Hearing loss is not considered by most family physicians

Only a low percentage of family physicians consistently screen for hearing loss. Your hearing loss will most likely not be apparent in a silent office atmosphere, so your physician may have no reason at all to even suspect hearing loss—not to mention they may not be trained in its proper evaluation.

5. Hearing loss is compensated for with ease

If you have hearing loss, there are alternative methods to amplify sounds: you can turn-up the volume of the television or require people to yell or repeat themselves. But not only does this strategy work poorly, it also shifts the burden of your hearing loss onto others.

If people can overcome these obstacles, they still must confront the stigma of hearing loss (although it’s diminishing), the cost of hearing aids (although it’s decreasing), and the belief that hearing aids just don’t work (entirely inaccurate).

With so many barriers, it’s no surprise why so many people wait to deal with their hearing loss, if they choose to deal with it at all. But it doesn’t need to be that way…

Overcoming the Barriers to Better Hearing

Here’s how you can overcome the obstacles to better hearing and help other people do the same:

  1. Understand the odds – hearing loss is one of the most widespread health conditions in the US. 20 percent of the population has hearing loss, so it’s not improbable that you may, as well.
  2. Accept your hearing loss – hearing loss is common, and so are hearing aids. Millions of people in the US use hearing aids and the majority are satisfied.
  3. Obtain a hearing exam – hearing loss is difficult to discern and easy to deny. The only way to know for certain is by getting a professional hearing exam.
  4. Learn about hearing aids – modern-day hearing aids have been proven to be effective, and with so many models and styles to pick from, there’s a pair that’s ideal for you and your budget.

Regarding hearing aids, the Journal of the American Medical Association in a recent study investigated three popular hearing aid models and determined that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

The research reveals that hearing aids are highly effective, but what do hearing aid users have to say? As reported by the MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey, 78.6{cdb78ae2d183aa312f4188be7f6bc8f99bbda397365b47ecb6e1dcf848d64ae2} were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.

Help Reverse the Statistics

In summary, of those with hearing loss, only 20 percent will seek treatment, in spite of the fact that hearing aids are effective and most people are satisfied with their performance.

But what if the statistics were flipped, and 80 percent of those with hearing loss took action and sought treatment? That would mean an additional 28 million people in the US could obtain all of the physical, mental, and social advantages of better hearing.

Share this article and help reverse the trend.

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