According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, many people could benefit from hearing aids, but only 20 percent actually seek treatment. When people do consult a doctor, they often wait years before getting a hearing aid.
When hearing loss goes untreated, there is a host of ramifications. From increased isolation and dementia to a decrease in earning potential at work, untreated hearing loss can make life difficult.
So, Why Don't People Get Hearing Aids?
Unfortunately, many people don't realize how much their hearing loss is impacting them. Hearing loss can develop slowly and over time. Often, hearing loss is so gradual people don’t realize how much it has deteriorated until their ability to recognize speech starts interfering with their daily lives.
Why Treat Hearing Loss?
According to the International Journal of Audiology, around 40 percent of 55 to 74-year-old adults actually do experience hearing loss. So, at hindsight, hearing loss can be a part of aging. This often leads to people thinking seeking treatment is optional or an interruption of a normal aging process. While hearing loss may become more prominent as we age, we should not delay treatment.
When you start to lose your ability to hear, it’s difficult to accept the change. According to recent research, people who lose their ability to hear go through the seven stages of grief: disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance. Thus, it may be easy for a person to get stuck in the denial phase, especially if no one is addressing the problem or encouraging treatment.
2. The Stigma Attached to Hearing Aids
Although the stigma related to hearing aids is decreasing with time, there are still many negative connotations attached to wearing them. Many people considering hearing aids believe having them will make them look older than they already are. It can make them self-conscious because they think it will attract negative attention. However, in reality, hearing aids reduce misunderstandings and increase social activity, which can help prevent some of the consequences of hearing loss such as cognitive decline. So contrary to popular belief, hearing aids can make a person feel younger. Also, hearing aids have become incredibly innovative, and can be both high-tech and fashionable.
3. Hearing Aids Are Expensive
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average price of a digital hearing aid is around $1,500, with the most advanced ones costing between $3,000-5,000. To make matters more complex, Medicaid and Medicare offer limited coverage, and the extent of that coverage often depends on the state you live in. Considering the expenses of our everyday life, the cost of hearing aids can be the real barrier for some people. However, many hearing healthcare professionals will work with individuals to set up a price plan to make these easier to afford.
Overall, a hearing aids can be life changing and studies show are worth the investment. Talk with your hearing care provider to further investigate your price options when considering a hearing aid.