No matter which way one looks at it, hearing loss is simply a fact of aging for most people, and has continued to be on the rise. It has been estimated that one in three people have hearing loss by age 60 (33%), two in three by age 70 (66%) and a whopping 4 out of five people over the age of 80 experience hearing loss (80%). According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss is also the third most common physical ailment facing Americans today, behind arthritis and heart disease (hearingloss.org). As if these statistics weren’t shocking enough, hearing loss is also the #1 most commonly reported workplace injury in the United States.
With this wealth of information on the prevalence of hearing loss, one would suspect treatment to be equally common. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is estimated that only about 28% of hearing impaired Americans who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them.
Why Don’t People Treat Their Hearing Loss?
There is a vast array of scientific studies and surveys, conducted on an international scale that continue to outline the many positive benefits of hearing aid use. These types of studies and articles continue to be published over, and over, and over again – however people continue to let their hearing loss go untreated.
There are many theories to explain why people don’t seek treatment for their hearing loss. Perhaps a loved one – or even you yourself – have used one or more of these excuses to avoid getting a hearing test.
1. “I hear just fine!”
If someone you love has untreated hearing loss, you’ve probably heard them spout this a time or two. Most often, hearing loss (especially age related hearing loss) is a gradual condition happening over the course of many years. Many people don’t notice changes in their hearing until others point it out to them, and even then try to deny or ignore their hearing loss for years.
2. “I can’t afford a hearing aid”
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the initial costs of hearing aids. Although there are many payment plan options, and some insurance companies do cover costs, hearing aids are still a financial investment for many. When thinking about whether or not to spend the money on hearing aids – try thinking about it this way. How much is your untreated hearing loss actually costing you? It may be more than you think. According to a National Family Opinion Panel conduced by the Better Hearing Institute, it was found that untreated hearing loss cost individual households an average of $12,000 per year.
3. “Hearing aids will make me look old”
Manufacturers have revolutionized the hearing aid industry – making hearing aids more discreet than ever before. There are even many entirely invisible aids available on the market that fit directly into your ear canal and are completely undetectable. On the contrary, older adults in the workplace who use hearing aids are seen as more competent and better at their jobs by their co-workers than their peers with untreated hearing loss. Therefore, using hearing aids can actually many you appear younger and more able.
4. “It’s just part of getting older”
Hearing loss is definitely correlated with getting older, and most people will experience some degree of hearing loss as they age. However, you don’t have to “just deal with it”. Just as age related near-sightedness can be easily treated with reading glasses, so can age related hearing loss be treated with hearing aids.
Why Get a Hearing Test?
Don’t let any of the above excuses keep you from experiencing the many benefits associated with treating your hearing loss. It is important for adults over the age of 50 to get an annual hearing assessment. Staying attuned to your hearing abilities will help you better recognize any changes in your hearing – and will also give you peace of mind if your hearing has not changed.
If changes are detected, get ready for some amazing benefits. Treating hearing loss has been proven to help improve relationships with family and friends, improve productivity at work and slow or negate cognitive decline and depression. What could treating your hearing loss do for you?
Reach out to our friendly team at AZ Balance and Hearing Aids today to schedule your free hearing exam. We look forward to working with you.