A survey released yesterday by Sirvantos, Inc., manufacturer of Siemens hearing aids, revealed some sad news about the state of hearing healthcare in adults over age 50:
According to the survey, more than half of seniors admit to having some degree of hearing loss, yet only one in six choose to wear hearing aids. Seniors with hearing loss are also three times as likely to have elective or cosmetic procedures than they are to seek treatment for their hearing loss. Hearing was also tied for last place with a colonoscopy as the least likely health check.
As Hearing Care Professionals, all we can say is, yikes! We already know that most people wait far too long to take care of their hearing. But finding hearing care prioritized under non-essential procedures like cosmetic surgery is a little heart-breaking, even for us. (Nevermind us thinking a free hearing test might be a little more inviting than that other health check!)
What makes this extra perplexing isn’t just that hearing well is so essential to your overall health, although it is: On top of keeping people connected to the activities and people they love, research has shown treating hearing loss reduces risk of a host of health problems ranging from depression to falls.
But beyond that, we find it hard to think of a single thing that can revitalize a person’s life — and yes, make them appear more youthful — than treating hearing loss.
Losing Your Connection
Straining to hear, struggling to follow along in conversations, asking people to repeat themselves…dealing with even mild hearing loss can slowly exhaust you no matter your age. But for older adults, these daily trials can make you feel like the harsh stereotype of a senior: forgetful and unable to keep up with the pace.
The trouble is, most hearing loss occurs so gradually, individuals can become habituated to its effects until friends or family bring it up. Unsurprisingly, yesterday’s survey suggests that people are aware of the frustrations related to hearing loss when dealing with others, they were more likely to deny its impact on their own lives:
One in four say they do not want to interact with someone who has trouble hearing and continuously asks them to repeat themselves (saying things like “Huh?” “Sorry, say again” and “What did you say?”). However, only 15 percent of respondents believe others react the same way when they are the ones asking others to repeat themselves.
As for wearing hearing aids, respondents were less optimistic about other’s opinions of them, fearing they would look old or “kind dorky.” The truth is, today’s hearing aids are so discreet, they tend to go entirely unnoticed. As one of our Hearing Care Professionals put it, “People really don’t notice hearing aids. What they do notice is when you’re not following along with the conversation.”
And it’s true. People notice the spark in your eye when you’re fully in the moment. They notice confidence, energy, and great communication. So while hearing health care may not provide the exact same confidence boost as a cosmetic tweak, it can put a spring in your step that you and others will notice right away. And unlike cosmetic surgery, trying out hearing aids is non-invasive, easy and free.
Even if you don’t suspect a hearing loss, getting an annual hearing test should be on your agenda after age 55. By getting a baseline and monitoring changes from year to year, you can catch hearing loss before it becomes a problem others notice, something that is especially critical in light of increasing research linking hearing loss to dementia and cognitive decline.
Ready to schedule a free hearing exam? Call us today or complete the form!