• 1 in 10 people (approx. 36 million in the US) have some degree of hearing loss.
• Hearing loss is the 3rd most common chronic health condition,
— yet one of the least addressed.
• 60% of people with hearing loss are under retirement age.
• 15% of the hearing impaired population are baby boomers (age 45-65).
• 30% of people with hearing loss are over 65.
• 1.5 million children are afflicted with hearing loss.
• The average person with a hearing loss waits over 5 years to seek help.
• Less than ½ of those who could benefit from a hearing aid use them.
• Many people struggle with hearing difficulties for years before they seek help.
There are different types and causes of hearing loss. The most common is the result of nerve deterioration or damage. This condition can be either environmentally or genetically (among others) induced. This loss generally occurs slowly over a long period of time and therefore goes unnoticed at first. Often presenting with the individual noticing sounds are unclear. They may say people mumble or I hear fine, I just don't understand. Generally the person will not have much difficulty with one-on-one or face-to-face conversation. That is because approximately 75% of communication is visual. With the help of the eyes, the brain can infer the missing information and make sense of the conversation. Most clarity issues can be effectively treated with today's technology.
Even with today's advances in technology and the smaller sizes of today's instruments, there is still a social stigma attached to hearing aids. Some reasons people avoid getting hearing aids:
#1: Hearing aids are big, bulky & uncomfortable
Actually, today's hearing aids are stylish and discreet. In fact, many people are able to wear hearing aids that are hardly noticeable.
#2: Hearing aids are for old people
More than half the people with reduced hearing are under the age of 65. More and more children are being identified with hearing loss thanks to the mandatory newborn hearing screening program. Hearing aids are no longer a sign of old age. It can affect people of all ages.
#3: My hearing loss is not bad enough for hearing aids
A good rule of thumb is that if other people around you are complaining that you can't hear, you need to have your hearing tested. The longer your loss goes untreated the more difficult it may be to satisfactorily improve.
#4: I only have one bad ear, so I don't need hearing aids
Everything is relative. Nearly all patients who believe that they have one "good" ear actually have two "bad" ears. When one ear is slightly better than the other, we learn to favor that ear for the telephone, group conversations, and so forth. It can give the illusion that "the better ear" is normal when it isn't. Most types of hearing loss affect both ears fairly equally, and about 90% of patients are in need of hearing aids for both ears.
#5: My friend has two hearing aids and hates them
Every person has a different hearing loss, different size ear canals, different hearing aid technology, etc. Success depends on many different aspects, follow-up visits as well as a persons willingness to complete the rehabilitation process. Please do not let others experience affect your actions regarding your hearing health.
#6: Hearing aids are too expensive
While it is true that hearing aids are not inexpensive, there are many different options which can make them more affordable. Buying cheap is not always advisable as you are most likely giving up quality. Quality products, expert care, proper usage of the instrument, and follow-up care are important.