The truth about what hearing aids say about you
Thanks to modern technology, we can have face-to-face conversations with friends and family members and navigate from place to place using mobile telephones that fit in the palm of our hand. The cars we drive can slow down and stop even before we know we need to. And many of us operate a variety of appliances in our homes we program to shut off when we fall asleep, wake us in the morning — even sing to us when they’ve finished their cleaning cycle.
So why do people still wait an average of seven years before seeking treatment for their hearing loss? As comfortable as we have all become using the latest technology to enhance our quality of life in every other area, why do we hesitate even one minute to consider wearing hearing aids?
If you recognize yourself in this population of procrastinators, it’s time for a paradigm shift — especially if you’re hesitating because you think wearing hearing devices makes you look old or weak. Contrary to what you currently believe, research is telling us that individuals who wear hearing aids have a lot going for them.
Relationships matter to you
It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen a model that sits comfortably behind your ear or one which snuggles invisibly in your ear canal, wearing hearing aids tells others that you are interested in what they have to say so much you are willing to take steps to be an effective part of every conversation.
Nothing makes you sound older than asking everyone to repeat what they say constantly or answering a question inappropriately because you can’t hear well. Research backs that up.
When Hear the World Foundation conducted a study of more than 4,000 individuals in five countries on topics related to hearing, slightly more than 40 percent of respondents whose partner or spouse has untreated hearing loss said they would be happy if their partner would get a hearing aid. Of those whose partner or spouse already wears a hearing aid, more than 80 percent said they were glad they did, 40 percent said they receive more attention from their partner as a result and 38 percent believe they have a better relationship overall.
You have an active lifestyle
Research also indicates those with untreated hearing loss are much more likely to be socially isolated. That’s because family gatherings and dinner out with friends can be frustrating when you don’t hear well. If you’re still employed, untreated hearing loss may actually be costing you money.
In the Hear the World Foundation study, those who wear hearing aids were more likely to participate in their favorite sports or exercise (33 percent) than those who don’t wear them (25 percent) and play sports with others more frequently (50 percent) than those without (43 percent). Of those who traveled, 69 percent of hearing aid users said they experienced enjoyment as compared to 57 percent of those who do not use amplification.
Today’s hearing aids are technological marvels, with directional microphones and programming designed to enhance speech recognition and reduce unwanted background noise. They allow you to hear sounds you haven’t heard for a while, such as singing birds and the sound of falling rain — even the click-click-click of your car’s turn signal. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, chances are good there’s a hearing device designed to help you hear your favorite sounds again. So, if you’ve given up your favorite activities because you’re not hearing well, it’s time to see the doctor.
You embrace technology
You’ve mastered the smart phone and know how to post photos on your social media page. You trade text messages with your grandchildren and watch “how-to” videos on YouTube. Wearing digital hearing aids fits right into the technology you use on a daily basis. In fact, in many cases it can enhance it. Smart phone apps for hearing aids allow you to hear better on the phone, listen to the television at a volume everyone in the family can enjoy and even stream sound from the movie theater directly to your ears.
You are proactive about your health
Having your hearing tested annually not only gives your hearing healthcare professional insight into how well you’re hearing, significant changes in your hearing may be a signal of another medical condition you need to address. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Other findings from Hear the World Foundation’s study revealed those with untreated moderate to severe hearing loss feel sad or depressed more frequently than those who wear hearing aids. Additionally, they are more likely to feel insecure or angry for no reason, lose interest in areas of their lives that used to be important, feel isolated and frustrated and suffer more frequently from insomnia. On the flip side, hearing aid wearers say they are better able to concentrate and relax than their counterparts with untreated hearing loss.
You are a problem solver
Hearing aid manufacturers have developed a variety of styles and applications because they understand how individual hearing loss can be. While one person needs to hear well at work during sales meetings, another is more interested in understanding the grandchildren when they call to talk about their day. These hearing devices have been created after years of study and research, which includes requests from individuals just like you who are looking for solutions to a specific hearing loss situation.
With today’s technology, hearing loss is a problem you can tackle with the help of a qualified hearing healthcare professional. Don’t let poor hearing compromise your health, your happiness or your lifestyle. To find the right hearing professional for your needs, ask for a referral from your family physician or search Healthy Hearing’s Find a Professional directory.