Related Help Pages: Hearing aids Fitting

Hearing Loss Treatment: 36 Million Need Hearing Aids

Springtime is here! Just listen to the sounds of birds chirping, and children laughing and playing outside after months of being cooped up indoors.

What – you can’t hear them? Before spring turns to summer (and new ambient sounds will be filling your environment), make sure your hearing is up to scratch. Just as the nature around us is experiencing a rebirth and renewal of sorts, so should your ears.

Millions Have Hearing Loss

If you are one of those people who can’t hear the sounds of spring (or any other season, for that matter), you are far from alone. In fact, according to National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 17 percent of American adults, or 36 million people, report some degree of hearing loss, making hearing loss “among the leading public health concerns.”

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers, as reported by Better Hearing Institute (BHI):

  • 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss
  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6 percent, have a hearing problem
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4 percent, already have hearing loss
  • At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems
  • It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss

As you can see, the numbers are staggering, but they don’t tell the whole story. The part that is missing here is that a considerable number of people with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, don’t.

hearing loss and signs of spring
Don't miss hearing the sounds of Spring

Studies show that 4 in 10 people with moderate to severe hearing loss use hearing aids, and only 1 in 10 people with mild impairment do. Research also demonstrates that, on average, people wait seven years before purchasing a hearing aid after learning of their hearing loss, while others never do. This means that millions of people walk around with untreated hearing loss, missing out on conversations, activities, interactions, and job opportunities.

With such clear and undisputed benefits, why do so many people forego treatment?

Among the primary reasons is the cost of hearing aids, which range, on average, from $1,800 to $5,000 per ear. While it is true that this price – not refunded by Medicare or most private insurers- is very high, it may still be affordable if you take the initial price and spread it out over several years that an average hearing device will last. You will have a very reasonable price of only $3 a day – the cost of a cup of coffee.

Other reasons advanced in surveys for not wearing hearing aids are really moot points – cosmetic considerations and fear of change.

C’mon, get real: hearing aids make you look old but straining to hear everyone around you doesn’t? Wearing hearing aids can actually allow you to appear younger and more youthful to those around you when you are actively participating in conversations and answering questions appropriately.

Hearing Aids & Clear Benefits

Today’s digital hearing aids are to thank for the increase in overall consumer satisfaction with hearing aids, as seen in recent surveys. Satisfaction and benefit perceived are at all time high thanks to innovative technologies, ease of use features as well as a new focus on design.

The hearing aids you see people wearing today are a far cry from what you remember gramps wearing. They are now an accessory you can customize for your style and personality.

Some of the many benefits advanced digital hearing aids will provide you are: 

  • Improved hearing in background noise thanks to directional microphone technology 
  • Improved comfort due to technologies such as digital noise reduction and wind noise reduction while outdoors 
  • Automatic feedback suppression to reduce unwanted whistling that hearing aid wearers often have occur
  • Addicted to your cellphone or MP3 player? Digital hearing aids today are able to connect to any Bluetooh enabled device wirelessly, allowing you to stay connected and to turn your hearing aids into personal headsets.

This list could go on for some time. The picture here is not only has digital technology brought us high-definition TVs, it has brought us high definition hearing.

You may think we are being dramatic here, but it is a proven fact that by cutting sufferers from social interactions and limiting their employment possibilities, hearing loss can cause feelings of sadness, isolation, and even depression. It can also put them at risk of accidents and serious injury if, say, they don’t hear the warning signs of fire alarms or oncoming traffic.

On the positive side, same studies show that use of hearing aids has a beneficial effect not only on hearing per se, but also on mental and emotional well-being, as well as the overall quality of life.

BHI says that, based on research, hearing aids use can boost:

  • Earning power
  • Communication in relationships 
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships 
  • Emotional stability 
  • Sense of control over life events 
  • Perception of mental functioning
  • Physical health

These are all compelling reasons why you should not wait any longer to get tested and fitted: Spring is here, and while amplification may not help you hear the flowers grow, it will help you enjoy all the other sounds around you.

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