Johns Hopkins University research predicts that the number of people with a hearing loss could double to almost 75 million Americans by 2060, making hearing loss one of the most progressive negative health conditions our country faces.
As the number of individuals with a hearing impairment increases, we are very concerned about how it is going to affect our Oregon and Idaho communities, especially those who are either unaware of their condition or choose to avoid treatment.
In an attempt to encourage greater participation in hearing screenings and hearing care, here are three main reasons why so many people have untreated hearing loss.
- Hearing Loss Is Not Obvious
The old sayings “like watching grass grow” and “like watching paint dry” are perfect illustrations of the gradual onset of hearing loss.
Because it comes on at such a slow rate, individuals with a hearing loss are unable to detect the day-to-day changes that are taking place without a hearing assessment.
The early signs of hearing loss are usually picked up by close friends, co-workers, or family first, because they recognize an increased frequency of being asked to repeat themselves, the volume on the TV is painfully loud, or they begin to hear strange responses to their questions.
- Hearing Loss And Hearing Care Misconceptions
A variety of misconceptions related to hearing loss and its treatment leads people to put off or avoid testing and treatment and are expressed in various ways such as:
- “If I had a hearing loss, I’d be the first to know.” Fact: As we’ve already pointed out, hearing loss is not obvious.
- “My hearing loss isn’t really bothering anybody.” Fact: Hearing loss increases your dependence on others, and the strain of trying to communicate bothers you by causing fatigue, depression, social isolation, and a variety of negative mental and physical health issues.
- “It doesn’t really matter if I put off getting help.” Fact: Cognitive issues, such as dementia, critical injuries from balance-related falls, and other mental and physical health problems, increase as your condition worsens.
- “Just turn up the volume.” Fact: Most hearing loss involves clarity issues, so turning up the volume only increases the intensity of sound distortion.
- “Hearing aids are bulky and ugly.” Fact: Modern hearing aid technology has made hearing aids smaller, lighter, and more discrete to wear than they were a couple of decades back.
- “Only old people need hearing aids.” Fact: Many of the increased cases of hearing loss are coming from teens and adults under age 65 due to noise-induced hearing loss from work and recreation/leisure activities.
- Costs And Lack Of Insurance Coverage
Realistically, hearing aids represent a significant investment for most people on a fixed income, and the lack of insurance coverage from Medicare and Medicaid are discouraging.
However, health concerns, such as cognitive decline and dementia, critical injuries from balance-related falls, strained relationships, and emotional disorders, cost far more than hearing aids.
The price of hearing aids has decreased significantly over the past few decades and continues to go down, making them more affordable.
At the same time, more insurance companies are beginning to include hearing care in their coverage and more states are requiring it as a mandatory offering.
Dove Hearing Is Eager To Help With Professional Hearing Care
Recognizing that you are experiencing a hearing loss is only half the solution; seeking treatment is essential if you hope to continue enjoying good health and a rewarding and independent lifestyle.
With a hearing assessment at Dove Hearing, the team and I can custom design hearing care that fits your hearing needs as well as your personal preferences.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing a hearing loss, contact us to learn more about the early warning signs, or schedule a hearing assessment with one of our audiologists at Dove Hearing Center in Emmett, ID.