A recent study suggests that nearly 48 million Americans have issues stemming from hearing loss, while 90% of them could benefit from hearing aids but don’t. In fact, only 14% have them, many still don’t use the helpful aids with any consistency. These facts are staggering!
Moreover, 70 is the average age when people start using the hearing aids even though nearly half of them have begun to lose their hearing at least a decade earlier. This amounts to a lot of people suffering from less than optimal hearing.
When it comes to using hearing aids, people are more concerned about the cost of such implements which is only making their condition worse, in addition to throwing a wrench on other aspects of their health and life.
The Dangers of Untreated Hearing Loss
If left untreated, hearing loss can bring about some serious physical as well as psychological consequences that sometimes outweigh this inability. Depression, social isolation, paranoia and personality changes have been linked with hearing loss, in past studies. Other than this, people with hearing loss are more prone to falling according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Dementia is also a major concern and danger for people with untreated hearing loss. In fact, nine out of ten patients with dementia also have a hearing loss problem as found out by a clinical research. The chances of dementia increase as people with hearing loss tend to become isolated, which is considered a risk factor for a much faster cognitive decline. Another reason given that ties higher risk of dementia to hearing loss is the changes in brain structure that normally take place side by side with cognition.
You are most likely suffering from hearing loss if you have trouble with hearing in noisy places, always complain about other people mumbling, or can’t hear well on the telephone. By not wearing hearing aids, you will only put yourself to a greater risk of cognitive decline. You will be able to live with that, right?
What Needs To Be Done: Dispelling the Stigma of Hearing Loss
The real problem lies with not the supply of hearing aids but with the demand. People with this issue aren’t taking an active effort when it comes to demanding affordable, effective, and easily accessible hearing aids. If this is done, not only will the market strive to meet the demand but companies and manufacturers who provide such help will come up with newer and better hearing aids technology.
It’s time that we lose the stigmas that force people to not take the help so sorely needed, forever. After all, hearing loss isn’t an obstacle to communication, but we have made it so even though the real enemy is our own personal and societal ignorance about this easily treatable condition and our reluctance to even acknowledge it. Perhaps the change in prices for hearing aids will encourage people suffering from minimal hearing loss to start thinking about their and well being, before their conditions further deteriorate or before they cause irreparable damage to themselves.