On average, how long do people wait before seeking help for their hearing loss?
The answer is a staggering ten years.
Yes, you read that right. A whole ten years of muffled hearing and half-heard conversations, when help was readily to hand. So why is this? Let’s look at some of the reasons (or rather –misunderstandings) for why people delay a hearing test.
#1 Hearing Loss is to be Expected at My Age
Yes, certain forms of hearing loss are associated with age, but hearing problems occur at any age. However, just because your hearing loss is age-related is not a valid reason to ignore it; in fact, the opposite is true. The sooner you seek help, the better.
Correcting your hearing issues helps keep you active socially and reduces your risk of falls. Audiology experts put forward a strong argument that seeking help while the problem is mild preserves your hearing ‘fitness’ and makes the adjustment to using a hearing aid much easier.
#2 Hearing Aids are Aging
You don’t want to wear a hearing aid. You associate hearing aids with big, clunky devices that squeal and howl, and do nothing for the wearer but age them.
Welcome to the 21st century, where miniaturized aids are worn within the ear canal and are virtually invisible. Even those hearing devices worn behind the ear are smaller and more streamlined these days. Manufacturers understand how important the cosmetic appearance of the device is and make them every bit as attractive as a pair of fashionable spectacles.
Be aware that repeatedly nodding in the wrong place during a conversation emphasizes your hearing loss much more than wearing a discrete device. And modern digital devices are sophisticated pieces of technology with features such as Bluetooth compatibility. This means you can listen to the TV via a stream to your hearing device, so no more raised volume annoying your partner or the neighbors.
#3 I Cope with my Hearing Loss
Do you really? Perhaps you aren’t fully aware of the impact it has on those around you. Your coping strategy might be to turn up the volume, which can be uncomfortable for family members with normal hearing. You miss snippets of conversation, and your lack of response can be misinterpreted.
In addition, hearing loss has a potential effect on future earnings. Those with untreated hearing loss are proven to have reduced earning potential. Then there are other factors, such as feelings of social isolation, reduced self-confidence, frustration, resentment and increased risk of depression – and dementia. Yes, dementia!
All this can be avoided by simply scheduling a hearing test and acting upon the advice of the audiologist. Acknowledging you need a hearing device isn’t the beginning of a slippery slope; it’s just the opposite. A hearing aid preserves your hearing health and keeps you connected to the things your love, thereby improving your life and keeping you active for longer.