Approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, only one in five people actually seeks treatment for the condition, and even then, they wait an average of seven years to do so. This can have devastating impacts on your relationships, health and overall quality of life. Our advice: Don’t delay treatment.
The Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss
There are a number of health conditions associated with untreated hearing loss.
One study published in 2018 in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that for adults over age 50, those with hearing loss are 30 percent more likely to experience a fall than their normal-hearing peers. The study also found that those with hearing loss are 40 percent more likely to be depressed and 50 percent more likely to develop dementia over a 10-year period.
There are a few theories for why hearing loss is linked with cognitive decline. One theory is that the brain must work harder to process sound, which drains cognitive reserves.
Another study published in Trends in Hearing in 2017 reported that hearing loss takes a significant toll on relationships.
Why People Delay Treatment
Despite these risks of leaving hearing loss untreated, many people are hesitant to be treated with hearing aids. There are a few reasons for this, according to a survey by Consumer Reports:
- Cost (42%)
- Haven’t had a hearing test (26%)
- Embarrassment (18%)
- Physical discomfort (12%)
- Friend or family member didn’t recommend it (10%)
While most insurance companies do not yet cover the cost of hearing aids, there are financing and leasing options available to make these medical devices affordable.
Many people report feeling like hearing aids will be obvious and make them appear old, but today’s devices are small and discreet; besides, difficulty hearing is usually much more obvious than a hearing aid. An audiologist can help you select a device that is comfortable to wear and meets your hearing, lifestyle, aesthetic and budgetary needs.
The journey to better hearing is unique for everyone. Don’t let someone else’s opinion keep you from a world of better hearing.
Take the Next Step
A Consumer Reports survey found that 30 percent of people had gone more than 10 years without a hearing test or had never in their life had a hearing test.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends a hearing test at age 50 to detect possible hearing loss and to establish a baseline to gauge future changes. Hearing tests should be conducted every two to three years thereafter.
For more information or to schedule a hearing test, call the experts at Evergreen Speech & Hearing Inc. today!