Despite recognizing the importance of hearing health as people age, seniors are still reluctant to treat hearing loss. According to an AARP-ASHA Survey: Seniors Choose to Live with Hearing Loss, eighty percent of seniors say that hearing health is important to them, but half of these respondents admitted to having untreated hearing health issues.
Hearing loss can create a psychological solitary confinement. Dr. Claudia Dewane, DEd, LCSW.
Seeking help for hearing loss is the most important and most decisive way to live an easier, more engaged life. More than 31 million Americans are hearing impaired, but only 23.5% who could benefit from them have or use hearing aids. The reasons for not using hearing aids or not treating hearing loss are varied, but here are some of the more common:
Cost: One of the most common reasons people give for not investing in hearing aids or upgrading their current hearing aids is price. Ignoring the facts that untreated hearing loss costs the average person 12,000 a year, and that people who use hearing aids are shown to generate more income, most people are forced to look at the initial outlay and not the long term benefits. The benefits of using hearing aids have been shown to far surpass costs. And today there are many different places to find funding for hearing aids.
Too Noisy: When it comes to using hearing aids, silence is less abrasive than sound, so a hard of hearing person, conditioned to hearing less, will sometimes give up on their new hearing aids. Don’t. Hearing aids require adjustments and working up to use—like any ability hearing needs to be exercised slowly. Work up to wearing your hearing aids full time and make sure to go for follow up visits to readjust your hearing aids. A few adjustments by an audiologist, understanding these simple rules for hearing aid success, and some patience could make all the difference.
Denial: Hearing loss is an emotional and physical journey. The hard of hearing person needs to overcome stereotypes, their own fears, and push past societal barriers. Sometimes, it’s easier for someone suffering with hearing loss to deny the problem. Answering questions about hearing loss can help to open you or a loved one's eyes. If you think you might have a problem understanding people in public places, hearing on the phone, or understanding people with higher pitched voices make an appointment with your audiologist. Treating hearing loss may stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia and has been proven to improve depression and feelings of isolation, so don’t wait!
Click HERE to read a guide on talking to your loved one about hearing loss.
Many people remain unaware of the essential connection between their physical, social, and emotional health and their ability to hear. People assume that hearing is relegated to the ears and is separate from the whole of a person's life. This hearing health misconception might be dispelled if people became aware of the serious mental and physical impacts of untreated hearing loss.
If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!