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It is common that hard-of-hearing people of all ages do not address their hearing loss and avoid treatment in the form of a hearing aid. At first, it is difficult to understand why – studies indicate that hearing aids greatly enhance hearing and quality of life in 90 percent of people with hearing loss. Looking at these numbers, why do many ignore the obvious choice?
Approximately 30 percent of people with hearing loss use a hearing aid. This means that 70 percent of the hard-of-hearing population live with their disability, without support. Imagine if 70% of those with visual problems ignored their condition too. Several studies have reported that the average person who gets fit for a hearing aid has been waiting seven years after the first signs of hearing loss – a long time to put up with the anxiety and loneliness that comes with compromised hearing.
As hearing professionals, we understand the reasons for not getting a hearing aid are varied and complex, but we would like to dispel several of them here:
“They make me look old.”
Think about a time you were having a conversation with a person who had trouble hearing you. You might have had to repeat yourself several times, raised your voice louder, or spoken much slower than normal. If you knew these challenges might arise, you might even decided not to start the discussion at all.
But think about how many times you’ve seen someone wearing a hearing aid. Maybe you can count the number of times on one hand, but amazingly, 1 out of every 32 Americans wear hearing aids and we barely notice them.
The truth is that no one looks at the back of your head, but everyone will notice if they can’t easily carry on a conversation with you. If you don’t want people to think you’re “old,” you need to be able to understand and respond appropriately to other people’s words.
“Hearing aids are difficult to use”
Substantial changes have been made to hearing aids, and the products currently available work like mini-computers. They can automatically adapt to your hearing habits, as well as provide substantial noise reduction in challenging listening environments.
“My hearing is fine.”
We often hear people say things like “I can hear the things I want to hear”, or “I’m doing fine for now so I’ll wait until my hearing gets worse.”
It can be difficult to notice a gradual decrease in your hearing, challenging to accept that you have a problem, and challenging to take the first step towards addressing it, even when there is an easy solution.
Over time, you get used to missing words here and there, or asking people to repeat themselves rather than effortlessly engaging in the conversation. It is not until you put on a pair of properly fitted hearing aids that you begin to understand how much of your life you’ve missed out on.
“Hearing aids are expensive.”
People with hearing problems sometimes find the device’s cost can be very high. While hearing aids are an investment, people overwhelmingly find that the price tag is well worth it because of the improvement in nearly all areas of their life. The use of hearing aids has been shown to preserve earning potential in the workplace, as well as reduce medical costs, as even a mild hearing loss that goes untreated has been shown to increase the likelihood of falling by nearly 3 times.
At Kenwood Hearing Centers, we recommend hearing aids that best suit your needs. We offer personalized hearing tests and hearing aid fitting and counseling to help you find the best devices for your unique hearing needs.