Not Enough People Use Hearing Aids, Here’s Why
For most of our lives, we take our hearing for granted.
Because it’s such an automatic process, we rarely notice how much it impacts every aspect of our lives from socializing to navigating, even our energy levels.
That is, until we start to lose it.
Even then, a lot of people are hesitant to do anything but try to cope with it rather than seeking out help.
This week, we’re going to talk about why it’s so important to get hearing aids as soon as you notice your hearing getting worse.
Few with Hearing Loss Actually Get Hearing Aids
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, whether that’s through exposure to loud noises, trauma, or simply just by getting older.
Hearing aids can offer dramatic improvement for most people with hearing loss yet people with hearing loss wait an average of seven years before seeking help.
In many cases though, they never do.
The NIDCD writes that “Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.”
Avoiding getting hearing aids can put one at risk for increased physical and mental side-effects.
For instance, a study from the University of Exeter with over 25,000 participants concluded that “people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.”
The Two Main Reasons People Don’t Get Hearing Aids
So if not getting hearing aids is putting people at risk, why don’t more people have them?
It usually comes down to two main reasons: look and cost.
There’s a misconception about hearing aids that persists that they’re “big and ugly and only for old people” said Annie Duchen, TK in conversation, “everyone can only think of their grandparents with giant hearing aids”.
Today’s hearing aids though are completely different and in some cases are completely in your ear canal and can’t be seen unless you’re looking at them.
Cost, though, is another matter entirely. According to reporting by the New York Times, “two hearing aids can cost as much as $5,000 or more.” This makes it almost impossible for some people to afford - especially if insurance doesn’t cover most or all of the cost.
Over the counter (OTC) hearing aids are changing all that by breaking down the barriers in healthcare. OTC hearing aids offer an easier path to support and treat mild to moderate hearing loss in adults and are often offered at a reduced cost compared to other hearing aids.
This way, as many people as possible can start to improve their quality of life.
Why Should You Get a Hearing Aid?
If you’re struggling to participate in conversation, have a hard time hearing with any background noise or find yourself struggling to catch everything said in conversation, it might be time to investigate getting a hearing aid.
While the main benefit is obviously just the ability to hear the full range of sounds with less effort, there are far, far more benefits of hearing ads that you may know, including:
- Increased energy levels - when your hearing levels are lower than baseline, it takes more effort to pay attention to what is said which can cause you to be more mentally tired at the end of the day. Hearing aids can help fix that.
- Quality of life enhancements - Bluetooth enabled hearing aids can allow you to stream music, phone calls, TV, and more directly into the device allowing you to enjoy your favorite sounds again.
- Improved social life - One of the hardest things about hearing loss is how isolated it can make you feel. With hearing aids, you can start to enjoy conversations with friends and family just like you used to.
“While there is nothing that can fix your hearing loss completely” remarks Dr. Duchen, “hearing aids will make your day-to-day interactions much more comfortable, which is a huge quality of life improvement."
Get a Hearing Test
Hearing aids are becoming more accessible than ever for a wider array of people. Meanwhile, the benefits of hearing aids speak for themselves.
Even if you suspect you have slight hearing loss, you should get your hearing tested immediately. Just because you have your hearing tested doesn’t mean that you are forced to buy one. It can be important to have a baseline to understand if your hearing does degrade over time or due to a specific circumstance.
Find a hearing professional near you for more information.