Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent medical conditions people live with today. Over 48 million people have some degree of hearing loss, making it the third most common health issue people experience. Even though hearing loss is pervasive, it is still widely underdiagnosed and undertreated. In fact, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. Avoiding treatment results in untreated hearing loss which can take a toll on everyday life and overall health in significant ways. Untreated symptoms can strain communication, impact relationships, lead to social withdrawal, and increase health risks. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options that you can access which transform hearing health.
Scope of Inaction on Hearing Loss
Though hearing loss is common, there is often a delay in treatment. It is estimated that it takes an average of 7 years for people to seek treatment for their symptoms. Extensive research shows that there tends to be widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss. A recent study that explores this was conducted by American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This study involved polling a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,500 adults on their experience of hearing loss. Key findings include:
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested.
- More than 51% of people reported hearing issues but only 11% have sought treatment.
- 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for 1 or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years.
These findings highlight how common it is to experience hearing loss symptoms that are not treated for long periods of time. This study also reveals how hearing health is not prioritized even when symptoms are experienced for years.
Why is Treatment Avoided?
Understanding why treatment is avoided can help you avoid ignoring the symptoms you may be experiencing. There are a few factors that help illuminate why hearing loss tends to be undertreated, this includes:
- Symptoms are undetected: it is important to know that hearing loss typically occurs gradually. This means that symptoms can be overlooked or unnoticed for quite some time. Not knowing you are experiencing hearing loss leads to a delay in treatment as well as worsening symptoms over time.
- Misconceptions: though hearing loss is common, there are still numerous misconceptions that often minimize the importance and urgency of treatment. This includes that hearing loss can be cured, if you can still hear then your hearing is mostly fine, and that impaired hearing only impacts older adults. These misconceptions often support people putting treatment off until symptoms worsen.
- Stigma: acknowledging changes to one’s health can be tough and overwhelming. People might also feel embarrassed about their hearing loss. There is still stigma associated with hearing loss that can make people ignore their symptoms and not share what they are experiencing.
These factors contribute to delayed treatment. Unfortunately, people tend to wait until symptoms reach a significant point to address them. But intervening early can actually protect the hearing you do have and can help you transition into better hearing health.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
Take the steps to access life-changing hearing loss treatment today. The first step is simple and involves scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Comprehensive hearing evaluations are conducted by hearing healthcare specialists and involve measuring your hearing capacities in both ears. This painless and noninvasive process identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you are experiencing. Once your hearing needs are identified, your hearing healthcare provider is able to tailor treatment to meet those needs.
Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. These innovative electronic devices provide significant hearing support, alleviating symptoms and making it easier to hear. Treating hearing loss not only strengthens hearing and communication, but it also improves relationships and social life as well as overall health and wellness. Hearing aids support people living active and full lives that they are more able to be engaged and present in. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing aid consultation!