8 Reasons People Don’t Purchase Hearing Aids
Earlier we talked about the prevalence of hearing loss in the United States. Remember that about 50% of people over age 75 have a loss. Also remember that only about 30% of people that could benefit from hearing aids use them. So, why? Why not wear hearing aids?
There are several reasons why people don’t wear hearing aids, even though they could benefit. Let’s explore some reasons.
1) “I hear just fine.” I hear this a lot. Hearing loss is a very gradual process. Most elderly people embrace the slow and gradual decline in hearing and believe that there is nothing wrong, it’s just something that happened. A person with hearing impairment is typically not able to recognize a problem within themselves.
2) “It’s not my hearing, it’s your talking.” I also hear this quite a bit from patients as well. Certain types of hearing losses affect the ability to understand people around you. People mention that everyone has started mumbling and no one enunciates clearly anymore. Certainly, the problem is not their hearing, but the way everyone else speaks.
3) “My friend got hearing aids and they hate them.” This is one of the most common excuses of people who are reluctant to try hearing devices. It is very important to know and understand that there are varying degrees of hearing impairment. It is also important to know that the sooner you work to improve a chronic health problem, the better the outcomes tend to be. Just because a friend had a negative experience with hearing aids, does not mean that you will be unsuccessful too. If your friend is complaining about their hearing aids, you should encourage them to seek help from their audiologist to ensure proper fit and correct settings are made based on their audiogram and real-ear target matching.
4) “They are too expensive.” Yes, hearing devices and listening systems are costly. But so is not treating your hearing problems. Hearing aids are an investment toward your overall health. There have been many studies of late showing how important hearing is to your overall health and well-being. Here is a link to a recent New York Times article highlighting the importance of hearing healthcare: Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb
5) “They are too difficult to use.” There have been a lot of great improvements in hearing aid technology, and they keep getting better. Hearing aids are basically mini computers that you wear on your ears. Gone are the days of several adjustments to volume per day, as the hearing aids adjust automatically to many surroundings. And now, many hearing aids have a rechargeable feature that does away with having to change batteries once or twice a week.
6) “They make screeching noises.” This sound is called feedback, and it happens when amplified sound leaks out of the ear and gets re-amplified. Hearing aids are now equipped with the technology to be able to detect this sound and cancel it out. If hearing aids do make feedback, it could mean the hearing aid is not sitting in your ear properly, or you could have developed an ear wax issue!
7) “Hearing aids will make me look old and are too visible!” Hearing aids are more discreet than ever. Even the hearing aids that go over your ear are virtually invisible. But what isn’t hidden is the inability to follow along in a conversation or constantly asking the speaker to repeat themselves or answering inappropriately.
8) “What will people think of me at work?” Hearing aids unfortunately don’t restore youth or hearing abilities, but it will certainly help you function better at work. The Better Hearing Institute completed a study that shows that a person with untreated hearing loss makes less money than a normal hearing peer. If that isn’t motivation, what is?