Hearing Loss and Its Impact...*

The number one reason why people purchase their first hearing aids is they recognize their hearing has worsened. The second reason is pressure from family members who are negatively impacted by the individual's hearing loss. In the vast majority of cases, hearing loss occurs gradually. By the time an individual recognizes a need for hearing aids, their quality of life may have deteriorated unnecessarily.  The average age of first-time hearing aid wearers is close to 70 years of age, despite the fact that the majority (65 percent) of people with hearing loss are below the age of 65; and nearly half of all people with hearing loss are below the age of 55!

Research presents a compelling story for the social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of hearing loss. Impaired hearing results in distorted or incomplete communication leading to greater isolation and withdrawal and therefore lower sensory input. In turn the individual's life space and social life becomes restricted. Logically, a constricted lifestyle negatively impacts the psychosocial well-being of people with hearing loss. Research indicates that hearing loss is associated with: embarrassment, fatigue, irritability, tension and stress, anger, avoidance of social activities, withdrawal from social situations, depression, negativism, danger to personal safety, rejection by others, reduced general health, loneliness, social isolation, less alertness to the environment, impaired memory, less adaptability to learning new tasks, paranoia, reduced coping skills, and reduced overall psychological health. For those who are still in the workforce, uncorrected hearing loss has a documented negative impact on overall job effectiveness, opportunity for promotion and perhaps lifelong earning power. Few would disagree that uncorrected hearing loss is a serious issue.

Although the vast majority of individuals who have decided to wait to purchase hearing aids (78 percent of all people who admit to hearing loss) are aware their hearing has deteriorated, they delay hearing aid purchases under the excuses: "My hearing loss isn't not bad enough yet" or "I can get by without them; my hearing loss is mild." A large number of people wait 15 years or more from the point when they first recognize they have a hearing loss to when they purchase their first hearing aids. This is a tragedy since they may not be aware of the negative impact this delayed decision has had on their life, and the lives of their family and associates.

"The Impact of Treated Hearing Loss on Quality of Life " Sergei Kochkin Ph.D. - Better Hearing Institute, Washington, DC*
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