People With Hearing Loss Prefer to Put Off doing Something About it!

Hearing loss is frequently regarded as a normal part of aging without many serious consequences, and often a disability that most individuals can do little about. However, a number of recent studies have shown hearing loss to significantly impact on one's quality of life.

Because hearing loss affects communication, it often leads to increased frustration, fatigue, and social withdrawal. Hearing loss can also place a strain on interpersonal and intimate relationships, not only affecting the hard-of-hearing individuals, but their significant others. In turn, the psychosocial/mental health consequences can lead to physiological consequences, such as depression and increased hypertension. Hearing loss has also been shown to impact significantly on earning power.

A significant percentage of individuals are unaware that they have a hearing loss or how they are being impacted. Even when they become aware of the hearing loss, the average time taken to address the hearing loss (if addressed at all) is approximately 7 years. Of those individuals with a hearing loss severe enough to impact communication, only 20% choose to obtain some form of hearing amplification. Numerous factors appear to serve as barriers to hearing-related health care.

Here is a list of the most common reasons for doing nothing:

  • I think my hearing is good enough
  • I have other health or family issues that are of a higher priority
  • I'm still undecided
  • I'm not convinced that a hearing aid would help me
  • I still intend to schedule the follow-up evaluation appointment
  • It's too expensive
  • I've been too busy

It's clear that the number-one reason why individuals who fail a hearing screening test did not proceed with a full hearing assessment is that they felt their hearing was still "good enough". Feedback from a partner or other family members often contradicts this; their frustration and annoyance at having to repeat themselves or ask for the TV to be turned down! is frequently matched by a growing withdrawal from social activities by the person with the untreated hearing loss. Doing nothing does not help, it makes things worse. 

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