Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions that people experience today, impacting nearly 1 in 5 people (over 48 million). Though it is common, hearing loss is widely undertreated. Only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. Untreated hearing loss can have major effects on various facets of everyday life – communication, relationships, social engagement, work life, health etc. This highlights the importance of intervening as early as possible to treat hearing loss. Treatment, though accessible and painless, is often avoided and understanding why as well as the consequences of this can better encourage action!
How undertreated is hearing loss?
Extensive research shows that hearing loss tends to be undertreated. This includes a recent study that investigated inaction on hearing loss was conducted by the American- Speech -Language -Hearing-Association (ASHA). Researchers surveyed over 2,000 adults and found that:
- More than 51% of all adults reported having hearing problems, but only 11% have sought treatment.
- More than 78% of those with hearing problems have experienced them for 1 or more years. Over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years.
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared with 6 in 10 who have had their vision tested.
This data highlights not only that hearing health is often not prioritized but also that hearing loss symptoms can be ignored for several years. This reveals widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss.
Why is treatment avoided?
It takes an average of 7 years for people to address their hearing loss symptoms. This delay can worsen symptoms and the toll they often take on everyday life. It is useful to understand why treatment tends to be avoided so that you can better intervene and prioritize hearing health.
- Misconceptions: there are numerous misconceptions about hearing loss that often minimize the condition and contribute to a delay in treatment. This includes that it is curable, not too serious of a health issue, and that if you are still able to hear then your hearing is fine. But it is important to know that hearing loss is a chronic condition that can have multifaceted effects – straining communication, relationships, health and more. Also, it exists on a spectrum from mild to more profound so the longer it remains untreated; the greater impairment can become.
- Stigma: though hearing loss is common, there is still stigma associated with it. It can also be challenging to acknowledge changes to one’s health and to be proactive about it. It is useful to know that people of all ages and backgrounds experience hearing loss and the sooner you intervene, the better your hearing health can become.
- Hearing Aids: Another contributing factor to delayed treatment is misconceptions about hearing aids. People often picture hearing aids as bulky and outdated devices that they want to avoid wearing. But similar to most electronic devices we use today, hearing aids have experienced significant innovation. They are smaller, savvier, and more advanced than ever before.
These factors can cause people to avoid treatment which can have a significant impact on hearing and overall health.
Why should I schedule a hearing test?
A hearing test is the first step towards treatment. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment. Once your hearing needs are established, a hearing healthcare specialist is able to tailor treatment to meet your needs. This process is fairly straightforward and efficient, providing you access with life-changing treatment.
Treating hearing loss can transform your daily life. Hearing aids are the most common type of treatment. These electronic devices are designed to absorb, amplogy, and process speech as well as sound. This provides the ears and brain with significant support that alleviates symptoms and increases capacity to hear. Treatment strengthens hearing and communication which improves relationships, social connection, work performance, and overall health.
Scheduling a hearing test is a simple but critical step that prioritizes your hearing health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation!
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