Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

In Hearing Loss, Hearing Tests by Jennifer Douberly, Au.D.

Many unknowns concerning hearing loss, but scientists and researchers are learning more about it every day. We know that hearing loss is not only prevalent, but it is also under-treated on a large scale.

Hearing loss is more common in older adults since it is directly linked to aging. According to research, one out of every three persons over the age of 60, two out of every three people over the age of 70, and four out of every five people over the age of 85 have some degree of hearing loss.

There is also conclusive evidence that failing to manage hearing loss raises the risk of various health problems, including stress, depression, and accelerated cognitive decline. Fortunately, evidence suggests that correcting hearing loss can considerably lower the risk of these and other health conditions and improve one’s quality of life.

But, if that’s the case, why do more than three-quarters of people refuse to treat their hearing loss? There is no single conclusive reason; instead, various variables may impact an individual’s decision to postpone hearing loss therapy.

Why do individuals avoid having their hearing tested?

A hearing exam is the first step in getting fitted for hearing aids, but many individuals put off this critical step—often for years—after first experiencing a decrease in their hearing. Why?

Because hearing loss develops gradually, many people are unaware of how severe their hearing loss has become. Friends and relatives may have begun to adapt to the hard-of-hearing individual without even recognizing it. Fear is a powerful motivation, and a hard-of-hearing person may be terrified of receiving confirmation that their hearing is not what it once was. Or they may be concerned about the stigma connected with hearing loss and that they will be alone with the ailment. Others may object to using a hearing aid for cosmetic reasons. 

However, the notion that hearing loss must be concealed is soon becoming a thing of the past.

Benefits of treating hearing loss

There are lots of reasons why you should get a hearing test and treat your hearing. Here are a few:

Hearing treatment can make you happier

Did you know that scheduling a hearing exam can be the first step towards becoming happier? You don’t have to reach very far to find study after study that connects untreated hearing loss with issues such as depression, anxiety, and increased stress. Recently, it was found that older people with hearing loss are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than those without hearing loss.

On the flip side, there is also a plethora of research outlining the precise relationship between happiness and using hearing aids. A recent EuroTrak study aimed at gathering more information about the benefits of hearing aids. When asked how often hearing aids improved quality of life, 98% of US respondents stated “regularly” or “occasionally.” When looking at mental health issues, 4 out of 5 countries reported higher rates of depression amongst non-hearing aid users versus hearing aid users.

Hearing treatment can help you forge better relationships with your spouse and family

Yes, hearing aids are also shown to impact love and family relationships as well positively. Recently, the Hear-the-World Foundation surveyed about 4,300 people about how their relationships have been affected by hearing aids. It was found that 81% said they were glad their partner had gotten hearing aids, about 70% believed the hearing aids had improved their relationships, and 40% reported getting more attention from their partners. Participants also reported an increased ability to communicate and more meaningful and interpersonal conversations. Feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation were also drastically reduced. 

A similar study in Australia found that 84% of people found that conversations with family were more effortless, 70% reported better home lives, one in ten saw improvements in sex life, and not one respondent reported any negative aspects of hearing aid use their daily lives.

It’s easy to see the connection between better relationships and hearing aids. When you can spend your energy listening to your loved ones, rather than straining to hear them – meaningful conversations and relationships are destined to form.

Hearing treatment can increase earning potential at work

Untreated hearing loss hurts earning potential. In 2011 the Better Hearing Institute conducted a study that found untreated hearing loss cost individuals about $30,000 per year on average due to lost income potential. When hearing aids were used, this income deficit was reduced by a staggering 90-100%. Also, in the study above, about 91% of respondents across five countries reported that their hearing aids were “useful” or “extremely useful” in the workplace.

We’re Here to Help

As you can see, scheduling a hearing test is the first step towards many vital benefits in your life. If you’re over 50, an annual hearing test is recommended yearly – but it’s never too early to start, especially if you have noticed changes in your hearing! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.