Some of the recent studies conducted on the effects of hearing loss on the lives of individuals reported hearing loss as a general factor affects quality of life above 60 years of age. However in fact, most people with hearing loss do not seek treatment or use hearing aids.
According to the survey done by National Council on Aging (NCOA)
Hearing aid users report:
- Better relationships with their families
- Greater independence
- Improved social life
Interestingly, family members consistently reported greater improvements in all these areas than did the hearing aid users themselves. That is, the family members appeared to notice even more benefit from hearing aid use than did the person with the hearing loss.
Non-hearing aid users report significantly more negative effects of their hearing loss. Compared to hearing aid users, non-hearing aid users were more likely to report:
- Less social activity
- More episodes of sadness and depression
- More episodes of feeling tense, irritable or anxious
These differences were independent of such factors as age, gender and degree of hearing loss.
Barriers to seeking help
The most frequently reported reason for not using hearing aids was "My hearing isn't bad enough." Even individuals who reported severe hearing difficulties cited this reason. Other commonly reported reasons were "The cost of hearing aids" and the belief that "Hearing aids wouldn't help.
Hence we should encourage older people who are suspected of having a hearing loss to seek appropriate screening, diagnosis and treatment.
If hearing loss is suspected, make an appointment now with your audiologist. A hearing test doesn't hurt and we've yet to hear of anyone complaining that their hearing was found to be normal.