Untreated hearing loss is a growing epidemic and we at Gardner Audiology see the negative results of untreated hearing loss in Tampa Bay every day. When the National Institutes for Deaf and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 1/3 of Americans between the ages of 65-74 and over ½ of the adults over age 75 have hearing loss but only 20% get help, we have a problem. They report that many wait on average 10 years before seeking help for their hearing loss. Why?
Typically, the first reason hearing aids are delayed is: Hearing loss in many cases is age-related and this type of loss is generally a slow, progressive process affecting both ears equally. Because of this slow progression, adults do not readily acknowledge their hearing loss, rather considering it a normal sign of aging and this allows many to ignore their hearing loss for years or even decades. The second reason hearing aids are often delayed is due to denial; whether it be the individual doesn’t want to admit they have a hearing loss, they don’t realize how much it affects those around them (As audiologists, we regularly hear that the significant other has been frustrated by the hearing loss long before the individual with the hearing loss even acknowledges it) or they don’t think anything can be done about it so they do nothing (a huge misconception as hearing aids have changed dramatically in the past 20 years and are able to help most individuals).
Several studies have shown significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other psychosocial disorders in individuals with hearing loss who were not wearing hearing aids than those who wore hearing aids. This survey found that hearing aid use positively affected quality of life for both the hearing aid wearer and their significant other.
Don’t delay! Stay engaged! Hearing aids today are very cosmetically appealing and discreet. We offer 30-day loaner hearing aids through our field study research.
“What are you waiting for?”
Angela Schenk, Au.D., Gardner Audiologist
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