More than 30 million Americans live with debilitating hearing loss. It’s an epidemic that particularly concerns older people, with one third of persons over 65 suffering from the condition. For people over 85, half of their peers have significant hearing loss.
But we’re culturally ill-equipped to acknowledge and treat hearing loss. A 2021 survey conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association revealed that while 60 percent of respondents had their vision tested within the past five years, only 20 percent had their hearing checked. In that same survey, only 11 percent of the group reporting hearing trouble sought treatment.
It’s not within our norms to prioritize hearing health and respond quickly when hearing loss is present. But we are doing ourselves a great disservice by neglecting this important arena. Investing in hearing health is investing in your health!
Barriers to treating hearing loss
While hearing loss cannot be cured, there are proven, successful solutions available. And yet, most people wait an average of a decade before treating hearing loss. In a majority of cases, these are people that wait until their hearing loss has made their lives unmanageable before they seek an intervention.
The most commonly acknowledged barriers to treatment tend to be the stigma of aging associated with hearing loss, not recognizing the benefits of treatment and the cost of hearing care and hearing aids.
The stigma of hearing loss as a sign of old age is becoming outdated and stale, especially since 70 is the new 50. As advocates for hearing health continue to crusade for greater education, hearing aids are becoming more commonplace. And, let’s be honest, everyone is walking around with some type of earbud or earpiece these days anyways.
The benefits of treating hearing loss
The data supports that the treatment of hearing loss alleviates symptoms of depression that hearing loss can cause. Further, experts agree that treating hearing loss now can even lead to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the future.
It’s not uncommon for people with hearing aids to remark that they wished they’d sought treatment years before. They cite a loss of the basic enjoyment of life: connecting with their friends and family. Studies show that hearing aids help improve relationships and a vast majority of hearing aid wearers would recommend them to a friend.
Investing in hearing health
Even mild hearing loss can be successfully treated, restoring a deeper connection to the world around you. On the other hand, the impact of untreated hearing loss can be an increased risk of dementia, feelings of isolation and depression, and higher levels of fatigue.
The ways that treating hearing loss can mitigate these symptoms closely associated with hearing loss far outweigh the cost of investment. How much would you pay to maintain your closest relationships with loved ones? It’s a difficult idea to put a number on.
What’s more, choosing hearing aids to treat hearing loss can also increase confidence in the workplace, extending the life of your career.
The subtle signs of hearing loss
It is true that hearing loss can be subtle in its onset. When the cells of the inner ear become damaged, due to aging or noise exposure, they no longer receive important sound to transmit to the brain.
We lose our hearing in bits and pieces of frequencies, and the higher frequencies are usually the first to go. We usually experience this initially in problems with speech clarity, when it seems like everyone is mumbling. Conversations become challenging and effortful. You might become reliant on the closed captioning function of your television or blast the volume.
It’s a progressive condition, which means it will just get worse over time. The only way to truly get a handle on your hearing health is by making an appointment for a hearing consultation.
Schedule a hearing consultation today
Our team of hearing health professionals are ready to help guide you through the process of a hearing exam. We’ll present your audiogram, the results of your test, in a way that helps you understand your diagnosis. Together, we can explore options for treatment or management of your hearing now and in the future.