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The intriguing thing concerning hearing loss is that, statistically, if you have it, you most likely won’t acknowledge it or seek care for at least five to seven years—perhaps longer.

The statistics:

  • 20 percent of the US population, or 48 million people, have some magnitude of hearing loss.
  • Of those with hearing loss, only 20 percent will seek out treatment.
  • Of those who do seek treatment, they’ll wait 5 to 7 years before getting a hearing test.
  • Of those that get a hearing test, they’ll wait, on average, 10 years after the established diagnosis prior to investing in hearing aids.

As a consequence, on average, out of 100 people, 20 will have some degree of hearing loss. Out of those 20, only 4 will seek treatment. And those 4 people will wait 5 to 7 years before getting a test, after which they’ll wait an extra 10 years before acquiring hearing aids.

That means, in this sample of 100 people, 16 people will go without improved hearing indefinitely, while the 4 that do get help will have lost 15 years of better hearing and a greater standard of living.

Resistance to Finding Help

If you work in the hearing care industry, these numbers are bothersome. You’ve most likely entered the industry to help people—and with modern technology you know you can—yet the vast majority of people won’t even attempt to enhance their hearing, or for that matter, even admit there’s an issue.

The question is, why do millions of individuals deny their hearing loss or abstain from pursuing help?

In our experience, we’ve found the most common reasons to be:

1. Hearing loss is progressive

Hearing loss ordinarily builds up in small increments over several years and isn’t obvious at any one instant. For example, you’d recognize a sudden 20-decibel hearing loss, but you wouldn’t notice a yearly loss of 1-2 decibels over 10 years.

2. Hearing loss is partial

High-frequency hearing loss (the most common kind) mainly impacts higher frequency sounds. That suggests you might be able to hear low-frequency sounds normally, generating the feeling that your hearing is healthy. The issue is, speech is high-frequency, so you may believe the speaker is mumbling when, in fact, hearing loss is to blame.

3. Hearing loss is invisible and pain-free

Hearing loss is subjective: it can’t be detected by visual assessment and it’s not normally accompanied by any pain or discomfort. The only method to properly quantify hearing loss is with a professional hearing test (audiometry).

4. Hearing loss is not evaluated by most family doctors

Only a small percentage of family physicians regularly screen for hearing loss. Your hearing loss will most likely not be obvious in a quiet office environment, so your physician may have no reason to even suspect hearing loss—and they may not even be trained in its proper assessment.

5. Hearing loss is compensated for with ease

If you have hearing loss, there are different ways to intensify sounds: you can crank-up the volume of the television or compel people to shout or repeat themselves. But not only does this method work poorly, it also passes the stress of your hearing loss onto other people.

If people can prevail over these barriers, they still face the stigma of hearing loss (although it’s diminishing), the cost of hearing aids (although it’s falling), and the perception that hearing aids simply don’t work (completely erroneous).

With so many barriers, it’s no wonder why so many individuals wait to treat their hearing loss, if they decide to deal with it at all. But it doesn’t need to be that way…

Overcoming the Roadblocks to Healthier Hearing

Here’s how you can conquer the obstacles to better hearing and help other people do the same:

  1. Know the odds – hearing loss is among the most widespread health problems in the United States. 20 percent of the population has hearing loss, so it’s not improbable that you may, too.
  2. Acknowledge your hearing loss – hearing loss is common, and so are hearing aids. Millions of people in the US use hearing aids and most are satisfied.
  3. Obtain a hearing exam – hearing loss is hard to recognize and easy to deny. The only way to know for certain is by getting a professional hearing test.
  4. Learn about hearing aids – the latest hearing aids have been verified to be effective, and with a multitude of models and styles to pick from, there’s a pair that’s ideal for you and your price range.

In regard to hearing aids, the Journal of the American Medical Association in a recent study assessed three popular hearing aid models and determined that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

The research reveals that hearing aids are effective, but what do hearing aid users have to say? As reported by the MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.

Help Reverse the Statistics

To summarize, of those with hearing loss, only 20 percent will seek treatment, in spite of the fact that hearing aids are effective and most people are satisfied with their performance.

But what if the statistics were flipped, and 80 percent of those with hearing loss took action and sought treatment? That would mean an extra 28 million people in the US could experience all of the physical, mental, and social advantages of better hearing.

Share this article and help reverse the trend.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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