A grandfather who is wearing hearing aids.

Most people with hearing loss don’t get hearing aids even if they need them. There are a lot of reasons for this, but in part it’s because they have misconceptions about hearing devices, or simply don’t know enough about them to make that choice. If you or your loved one have untreated hearing loss, these nine things will help you make up your mind.

You’re Not Alone

People with hearing loss sometimes believe they are the only one with the problem. That is far from the reality. Close to 20 percent Americans have hearing loss, and the numbers rise sharply with age. Close to 30 million adults in the US would benefit from hearing aids but few use them. Your decision to get hearing aids not only benefits you, but as more and more people start using them, the less others will find a stigma attached to their use.

Hearing Aids Have Changed

The technology related to hearing aids has changed dramatically in the last decades, and all signs point to continued improvement. They are much more discreet than models from the past, and the newest models let you connect directly to your TV and other devices. This creates a much better environment for people with hearing loss and those around them.

Enjoy a Better Quality of Life

The National Institute for Aging found that people with untreated hearing loss were twice as likely to be depressed, and that they reported feeling sadder than people who wore hearing aids. If you’re still on the fence about getting a hearing aid, think of how great it will be to hear the birds chirping again, or to have easier conversations with your loved ones.

Hearing Aids Can Slow Dementia

Several studies have shown that people with hearing loss experience dementia and a general decline in cognitive abilities at a higher rate than those with good hearing. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes people with poor hearing to experience cognitive problems, but as a result of the available research many recommend getting a hearing aid to stave off dementia.

Hearing Aids Save Relationships

When people don’t address their hearing loss they may also notice that their relationships with loved ones change. It is frustrating for others to have difficulty with phone conversations, hearing the loud volume on TVs and radios, and experiencing a lack of communication. When couples address hearing loss together, everyone wins.

Hearing Aids Save You Money

People worry about the cost of hearing aids, when in reality they should worry about the costs of NOT getting them. If left untreated, hearing problems lead to depression and anxiety, other health issues, and difficulties with communication in the workplace. This can lead to underemployment, unemployment, and lost wages due to time off. It is estimated that the average person with untreated hearing loss loses about $14,000 per year. That puts the cost of hearing aids in a whole new light.

There Are Organizations That Help

If you are still worried about the cost of hearing aids, talk to your audiologist about organizations that can help. Several organizations collect used hearing aids for donation. While you must have your audiologist calibrate it to fit your specific needs, this eliminates the initial cost of the device. Other groups like AARP have partnered with hearing aid makers to provide discount programs.

Hearing Aids Help You Feel Better Rested

If you have hearing loss, you also may find that you are tired in the middle of the day or go to bed earlier. This isn’t a figment of your imagination. It’s called listening fatigue, and it’s caused by how hard you have to concentrate to make out what other people are saying. Once you wear a hearing aid and don’t strain so hard, you will also find that your energy levels get higher.

Hearing Aids Can Save Your Life

Hearing aids do not cure hearing loss, but they certainly do help people hear better. We take fire alarms, emergency broadcast messages, and sirens for granted, but imagine the dangers of not being able to hear them. A person with a hearing aid is also more likely to avoid things like oncoming traffic and other dangers.