The Hearing Gap: Accessibility and the Consequences of Hearing Loss
Consequences of Hearing Loss
At first, hearing loss may seem like it primarily has physical consequences–hearing loss just means one’s ears can’t hear well, right? In actuality, the consequences of hearing loss are quite wide-ranging. There are physical, cognitive, psychological, and psychosocial consequences of hearing loss. While hearing loss is very common, it often goes untreated.
In fact, according to an article titled “The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging,” 9 out of 10 people with mild hearing loss do not have hearing aids and 6 out of 10 people with moderate to severe hearing loss do not have hearing aids.
Hearing loss is an invisible ailment. You can’t tell just by looking at someone that they have hearing loss. This can prevent discrimination, but it can also delay treatment, since there isn’t anything outwardly different about a person with hearing loss.
When you can’t hear well, you can’t communicate well, which has implications in many different aspects of life. One important aspect of life that is affected by hearing loss is the ability to work. Hearing loss can interfere with a person’s work, preventing them from answering the phone, interacting with clients or colleagues, and participating actively in meetings. A lack of access to hearing aids can affect people’s vocations and livelihoods.
Aiding with Hearing Aids
There are many reasons why people who need hearing aids do not purchase them. According to a study conducted by the National Council on Aging in 1999 on the consequences of hearing loss in older adults, the vast majority of respondents reported that they did not believe their hearing loss was severe enough to require a hearing aid. However, these respondents were still reporting difficulty hearing.
In addition, one in five people in the 1999 survey reported that wearing a hearing aid would make them feel “old or embarrassed.” The irony, however, is that hearing loss leaves people in situations where they are unable to respond appropriately and are unable to communicate correctly. This creates its own set of embarrassing situations.
Another reason people who need hearing aids do not wear hearing aids is because often hearing loss is not a priority for policy makers. Hearing loss straddles the line between a health care issue, a public health concern, and a lifestyle issue. Creating awareness of the difficulties associated with hearing loss can help make hearing aids more accessible to those who need them.
Hearing aids can change the day-to-day functioning and happiness in a person’s life. Along with enriching the small moments that might be missed without hearing aids, hearing aids can also help people stay on the job for longer as they age, and continue engaging in the hobbies they’ve always enjoyed.
If you’d like to learn more about hearing loss solutions for you, drop into a Lucid Hearing Center at your local Sam’s Club today!