It’s estimated that one in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears. 28 million could benefit from hearing aids, however of those who could benefit from treatment only 20 percent ever do. Part of what keeps people from addressing their hearing loss is a lack of understanding around this very serious condition. Here are some common misconceptions around hearing aids we need to cast aside so we can receive the treatment we so dearly need.
My hearing loss cannot be helped.
Nearly 90% of all cases of hearing loss are sensorineural, in which cell damage in the inner ear inhibits the delivery of sound to the brain. While sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible it can be treated effectively using hearing aids. Digital hearing aids can be programmed based on the results of a hearing exam to amplify only the sounds you struggle with while allowing your remaining hearing to be heard organically. This creates a comprehensive and natural way of hearing with hearing aids to allow you to carry on a conversation with friends, family, and co-workers and stay active for years to come.
Hearing aids will make me look “old” and “handicapped.”
Untreated hearing loss can cause people to seem confused, uninterested, and withdrawn. Active people find that they choose to stay at home, and this quickly can lead to feelings of chronic depression, anxiety, and loneliness. While you most likely will find it more empowering to let people know you have a hearing loss, for those who are not ready to disclose, many styles of hearing aids are discrete enough to amplify sound from within your ear canal. The truth is that nothing will make you seem older than struggling to hear. It has often been said that “a hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid.”
Hearing aids will make everything too loud.
Digital hearing aids don’t amplify every sound you hear but only the tones which you struggle with. The majority of people struggle with high-frequency sounds, while others have issues with lower tones. With digital signal processing, hearing instruments can be tailored to meet your individual needs better than ever before. Multiple frequency bands/channels allow a more precise fitting to your audiogram.
My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids.
The sooner you diagnose a hearing loss and treat it the better. Many go for years with hearing loss before even realizing they have an issue. This however does not mean that they are free from the social, emotional, and cognitive risks of hearing loss. Even mild hearing impairments can cause cognitive decline and social issues.
Hearing aids are too expensive.
A dynamic set of digital hearing aids are an investment that is unfortunately rarely covered by most insurance providers. While there is a trend towards insurance companies changing these archaic practices, don’t wait around for yours to cover hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can have a big impact on earnings and performance in the workplace. The Better Hearing Institute reports that on average people with untreated hearing loss earn $30,000 less annually than contemporaries with normal or treated hearing. Other studies have found that the risk of unemployment is increased as well with unaddressed hearing loss. When you weigh this cost against the risks, it makes complete financial sense to invest in hearing aids. It’s an investment that will allow you to prosper and earn, for years to come.
Poor hearing is normal at my age.
Hearing loss often increases with age (presbycusis). Currently, it’s estimated that 30% of people over 65 have hearing loss and this number quickly jumps over the next decade to 50% of those 75 or older. Just because hearing loss is common does not mean it’s untreatable. You still have a lot of life to live even as we advance in years. To make sure we get the most out of our life it’s essential to address any hearing loss that may be impeding your ability to live your life to its fullest potential. To find out more about how hearing aids can help you, contact us for a hearing exam today.