Nearly 50 million Americans experience hearing loss, but most wait years before seeking treatment. Experts in the field have wondered why this is the case, and over the past 10 years have conducted numerous studies and surveys in order to figure out the reason for the delay.
Why People Delay Treatment
According to a 2018 survey of 122,000 Consumer Reports members, 42 percent of respondents reported that they put off seeking treatment for their hearing loss because of the cost; 26 percent said they had not ever had their hearing tested; 18 percent were embarrassed to wear a hearing aid; 12 percent said their hearing aids were uncomfortable; and 10 percent reported that they have a family member or friend who had a poor experience with a hearing aid.
While a hearing aid is a large financial investment, the cheaper alternatives don’t work well. Personal sound amplification devices (PSAPs) amplify all the sounds coming into your ear, including unwanted background noises. Prescriptive hearing aids programmed by an audiologist are designed to work with your unique degree of hearing loss, discerning speech from other sounds and adjusting the volume based on your surroundings.
According to a 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, those 50 years and older with untreated hearing loss are:
- 30 percent more likely to fall.
- 40 percent more likely to be depressed.
- 50 percent more likely to develop dementia.
Why People Seek Help
A survey of 18,000 Consumer Reports members sought to find out the motivating factor for getting a hearing aid. The top five reasons were:
- Hearing test showed I needed it (75 percent).
- Others complained about me not hearing well (53 percent).
- Tired of making others repeat themselves (50 percent).
- Doctor and/or other hearing specialist recommended them (48 percent).
- Felt left out of social situations and conversations (41 percent).
When Should You Get Tested?
While there are no national hearing screening guidelines for adults, experts recommend visiting your audiologist for a test every 10 years. After the age of 50, you should have your hearing tested every three years.
If the results of your hearing test reveal you have hearing loss, your audiologist will use that information to put together a treatment plan. For most, that will include the use a hearing aid that is custom fit to your exact degree of hearing loss.
To learn more about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment, contact the experts at Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.