The first line of treatment for people with hearing loss is often, hearing aids. But recent studies show that most of those who could benefit from hearing aids do not wear them. According to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys (NHANES), only one in seven people over the age of 50, who have hearing loss, are using a hearing device. That means only 14% of the 26 million people with hearing loss are taking advantage of devices that will help them hear better.
Just as surprising, the average age of a first-time hearing aid user is 74 years old. These same people are often dealing with the hearing loss for up to 10 years before they get hearing aids. So, why aren’t people using hearing aids to help improve their hearing?
Lack of Hearing Aid Usage: Comfort, Price, Effectiveness, what is it?
There is a list of reasons people offer about why they don’t use hearing aids when it may be helpful for them. Dr. Linda S. Remensnyder, an audiologist from Illinois, says that the number one reason is that people believe their hearing is fine. People with hearing difficulties may believe this because hearing loss can happen gradually. This gradual loss causes them to not notice the signs of hearing loss. Those who face hearing loss can hear well in quiet settings but have trouble hearing in noisy situations. This leads them to believe the problem is the sounds around them being too loud.
The fear of a negative image often keeps us from addressing issues that may impact us. The fear of looking old or receiving judgment from others often prevents people with hearing loss from using hearing instruments. With newer, modern hearing devices that are more discreet, the negative image people fear almost non-existent. Also, they will help the individual function better in various environments.
Another thing that keeps people from using hearing aids might be the price tag. The cost of hearing aids as well as their maintenance can be high. People who are retired and are on a fixed income feel that they are unable to afford them. Shifting the mindset from affordability to viewing hearing devices as an investment that improves their overall quality of life lets one see that they’re well worth the price tag.
Reasons range from stories of friends who are having issues using hearing devices to feeling that they are too complicated to use. Everyone has different experiences when it comes to hearing loss, and with the great modernization of hearing devices, comfort and usage has improved greatly.
It’s an Investment
Whatever the reason for not using a hearing aid, it is important to understand those hearing devices are an investment that will greatly improve your quality of life. Continuing to not use hearing aids often leads to other health problems.
The most obvious one is the fact that those who face hearing loss are missing out on real human connections. This could lead to social isolation. According to Dr. Frank Lin, assistant professor of Otolaryngology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, mild hearing loss can triple the risk of a fall. Furthermore, there have been studies that suggest a hearing loss is linked to dementia. Mild hearing loss can lead to doubling the dementia risk, while a moderate hearing loss may triple the risk.
Knowledge is Power
It’s so important to understand that hearing aids aren’t going to completely fix lost function. They do however maximize your ability to hear. In order to fully engage in life, you have to fully engage everywhere. If you often find yourself requiring help – a spouse that feeds back information to you in conversations due to your inability to hear – you may need to take the next step to address the hearing loss.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment today with one of our hearing professionals at Hearing Group for a hearing test. You can be on your way to improve your quality of life, specifically improving communication in relationships.