Hearing aid technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades, giving new features and functionality to their users that were unthinkable when hearing aids first came on the market. Some hearing aids are designed to look like jewelry; others are so small they’re basically unnoticeable. Hearing aids now often include Bluetooth connectivity options, which allow users to connect directly to smartphones, media players, and televisions.
Yet with all of these advantages, the number of people who actively wear hearing aids is incredibly low.
Hearing loss affects nearly 15% of adults. Out of those 37.5 million, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that nearly 29 million people could benefit from wearing hearing aids. Even so, only 16% of adults between the ages of 20 to 69 who should use a hearing aid have ever used one, while only one-third of adults over 70 who need hearing aids have used one.
Why Don’t More People Wear Hearing Aids?
There are several reasons why people choose not to wear hearing aids. The most common reasons are a poor fit, difficulty of use, and not enough improvement in hearing. Luckily, these are all technical reasons that can often be corrected by a visit to a hearing specialist.
Other reasons are more psychological in nature. For some people, there is, unfortunately, a stigma associated with wearing hearing aids. These people still associate hearing loss with aging. This stigma is waning, however, as the rise in hearing loss is affecting young people at alarming rates and hearing aids have become more stylish.
For most people, the benefit of a hearing aid almost always outweighs the drawbacks, and slight adjustments can be made to help ensure greater adoption of hearing aids.
How Can You Make Sure You Take Advantage of Everything Your Hearing Aid Has to Offer?
According to the Hearing Journal, identifying possible barriers to use and figuring out how to overcome them before you leave the hearing clinic– could improve your use and overall experience.
Researchers identified three main things you should do before you leave with new hearing aids:
- Get realistic information about the benefits of hearing aids and the negative effects of not wearing them when needed.
- Identify when you’ll use them – what prompts will trigger you to put them on? For example, if you find yourself turning up the volume on the television, that should trigger you to wear your hearing aids.
- Discuss habits you should form to make sure they are in good condition and ready for when you need them. (For example, talk about how to keep them clean, when is it likely to need a new battery or to be charged, how long do you have to wear them before you experience the full benefits, etc.)
Stop suffering in silence if you think you have hearing loss. Contact a hearing specialist near you and schedule a consultation to learn more about advances in hearing aid technology and how you can start hearing clearly again.