The vast majority of people who could benefit from hearing aids are not wearing them. According to a report from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, only 30% of adults aged 70+ are wearing hearing aids to treat their hearing loss. Seventy percent of older adults with hearing loss could greatly benefit from wearing them but aren’t! It might seem nuts to you, but there are a number of reasons why someone with hearing loss might not wear hearing aids.
Why people don’t get hearing aids: The cost
Like virtually everything else in life, there is a cost for better hearing. Hearing aids are tiny, technologically advanced devices and until recently they did not come cheap! Hearing aids can still cost several thousands of dollars for each piece. However, it’s now a lot easier to find affordable, high-quality hearing aids that won’t break the bank.
Audicus has a direct-to-consumer business model—we don’t have a storefront or a middleman; instead, we work directly with a hearing aid manufacturer to build top-notch technology and send it directly to you. Our online approach allows us to keep prices a lot lower than traditional hearing aid retailers.
Even with advances in business and technology, hearing aids can still be too expensive for many people—especially since hearing aids for adults are rarely covered by medical insurance. There are some options though if you cannot afford hearing aids. The Lions Club has a hearing aid donation program—get in touch with your local Lions Club to find out if they provide free or affordable devices. Hearing Charities of America also works hard to provide hearing aids to those in need, and you can apply for a hearing aid by applying here.
Why people don’t get hearing aids: The stigma
One of the more hidden reasons that someone might not buy a hearing aid is the social stigma around it. Hearing loss is scary, and many people don’t want to admit they might have a problem. But poor vision is a similar medical issue to hearing loss and no one is embarrassed to wear glasses, so what’s the issue?
Hearing loss is seen in western culture as a sure sign of aging and is often viewed negatively. Additionally, many people still think of hearing aids as large, cumbersome devices.
Hearing loss is actually worsening around the world, and globally 1.1 billion people between 12 and 35 are at risk for hearing loss due to louder environmental noises. Hearing loss is not just a problem for when you get older—it’s going to be reality for many younger people very soon.
Luckily, hearing aids are getting sleeker and tinier every year. Hopefully, these nearly invisible hearing aids will help lessen the stigma and encourage more people to wear them. There are so many people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids but don’t get them. Let’s help change that!