When a lot of people hear the words “hearing aids,” they conjure images of gigantic, flesh-toned plastic monstrosities, whistling and screeching away while the wearer yells “HUH?” That may have been an accurate image prior to the 1990s, but hearing aids have come a long way since then. Incidentally, so has the noise level of our modern society. Earbuds come bundled with new phones. Trucks whiz by. Air travel has become more common, with jet engines blaring at us for 4-16 hours at a time. It’s no wonder that hearing loss affects so many people today.
Hearing Loss Is Common
Hearing loss is a very common ailment in modern society, affecting 1 out of every 8 people over 12 years old. What’s more, it takes an average of 7 years from the time a person realizes they’re suffering from hearing loss to the time they do something about it. That’s 7 years of life that could be lived without many of the problems related to hearing loss. Many people think that hearing aids will make them “feel old,” or that perhaps they’re getting by just fine without them, but there are real dangers with leaving hearing loss untreated.
Dangers Associated with Hearing Loss
We know that hearing loss affects our relationships. In a British study conducted in 2009 with 1,500 respondents, 44% said that hearing loss directly impacted their relationships with friends and loved ones. It also affects our ability to balance, increasing our chances of falling down. Many patients have left or considered leaving a job because of hearing loss. As we hear less and less of what goes on around us, we can end up feeling lonely even in groups. And as our brains receive less and less auditory information, the hearing centers of our brains can atrophy. Even our risk of developing dementia is increased.
Patients Are Satisfied with Their Hearing Aids
We don’t need to accept the potentially dire outcomes of untreated hearing loss, as most people with hearing aids will tell you. About 88% of people with hearing aids report being satisfied with them. Hearing aids have been shown in studies to improve our relationships with those around us, allowing us to truly relate to and be there for our friends and loved ones. They also increase our ability to balance, preventing us from falling down and sustaining injuries that we might not recover from. Being able to hear our customers and coworkers keeps us in the workforce longer, and workers with hearing aids earn an average of $10,000 more per year than those with untreated hearing loss. Hearing aids keep us in the game and keep us attuned to life as it moves on. Far from making us old, hearing aids are a crucial treatment to keep us feeling young.
Hearing Aid Technology Has Skyrocketed
Gone are the days of the radio-sized units with the earpiece attached, and gone are the days of the big flesh-toned plastic insert that fills the entire concha. Today’s hearing aids can fit far enough inside the ear canal to be invisible to others, or they can be visible but more like jewelry than medical equipment.
But the advances are more than superficial. Hearing aids used to simply amplify whatever sound came at them. Today’s hearing aids have internal computers that can assist with separating conversation from background noise, using technology similar to that which is used in cell phones. They can pair with Bluetooth devices and integrate into your car’s computer system. They can pair with devices to assist with tours at most major museums, and even some restaurants are employing technology that works with modern hearing aids.
Get Your Hearing Tested Today
If you suspect you might be suffering from hearing loss, make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional today and get your hearing tested. Don’t feed the statistic and wait 7 years to do something about your hearing loss. Getting tested now will let you live the life you deserve, every day. Your hearing healthcare professional can not only fit you with hearing aids but provide recommendations on lifestyle adjustments that will allow you to keep your main priorities in place. Start reaping the benefits of hearing aids today. You’ll appreciate them, and your family and friends will appreciate them, too.