Hearing loss can be caused by any number of reasons—genetics, diabetes, autoimmune disease, Meniere's, age, or sudden hearing loss to name a few. Despite the different reasons for hearing loss, overwhelmingly people tend to share one common response--delay. Procrastination in seeking hearing loss help is common with some people wait as long as seven years to get help. That’s because many people don’t understand the overall impact untreated hearing loss has an overall health, including mental and physical complications.
Untreated hearing loss has been shown to increase the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer's, but it also adds to a greater likelihood of unexpected falls, and depression. Correcting hearing loss has been shown to help relationships, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. But people continue to neglect their ears citing aesthetics, technology, cost, or uncertainty.
One common reason people delay seeking help for hearing loss is because of old stereotypes, literally. Despite the prevalence of new technologies that rest upon more and more ears, some people fear wearing hearing aids will make them look old. Past stereotypes of people with hearing loss and those who wear hearing aids as being old and out of touch means some people shy away from dealing with their hearing loss. The irony is that the stereotypes are not true. People who deal with their hearing loss are shown to feel and act younger and are seen as more in touch. They have less problem understanding conversations, are more relaxed in social settings, and because today’s hearing aids are so small, they are rarely spotted. There is also a new trend to mimic the brashness of today's technology, making hearing aids more hip and stylish.
People with hearing loss also avoid seeking help, because they mistakenly believe hearing aids are unmanageable or won’t make that much of a difference with their hearing. Before digital hearing aids, hearing technology could not adapt to background noise, adjust, or learn a user's preference. Many people base their avoidance of hearing aids on past performance of hearing aids and not the wonders of what today's advanced technologies can achieve. Not only do hearing instruments make vast improvements in a person's quality of life, but over the years, they have joined the ranks of some of the most sophisticated technologies available.
26 million people live with untreated hearing loss. A majority of those people cite the high cost of hearing aids as the reason for refusing treatment, but the truth is individuals and society still pay the cost in lost income, higher health care costs, and lost taxes. Untreated hearing loss costs the average person 12,000 a year, and the collective monetary cost of untreated hearing loss is thought to exceed 100 billion dollars a year. It is believed lower salary is due to more mistakes that come about due to an inability to engage in every day communication. Further, the cost of hearing aids, when averaged over years of use, is only pennies a day. Read more about hearing aid funding on People Hearing Better.
There is a myth around hearing loss that suggests treating hearing loss is not necessary to live a fully engaged life. This isn’t true. As a recent study done by Hear-the-World shows, people who improve their hearing with hearing aids more often reported better relationships with their families, better feelings about themselves, improved mental health, and greater independence and security. The true cost of hearing loss on health, income, and emotions is far greater than the initial outlay for hearing aids. Also the cost of treating hearing loss can be offset through many different hearing aid funding programs. There are many valid reasons for correcting hearing loss, but none are more important than the most devastating costs of untreated hearing loss--isolation and unhappiness. Help yourself or someone you love confront hearing loss today. You could just save a life.
If you need more information about treating hearing loss, see your hearing health professional. If you need help finding a hearing health professional in you area click click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health providers in the nation.