1. Hearing loss is extremely common, impacting 1 in 5 people aged 12 and older. It is the third most common chronic condition for older Americans. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Noise exposure is another very common reason for hearing loss, and we live in a noisy world. Popular restaurants, sporting events, movies and concerts turn up the volume to create energetic vibes. Electronics and machinery such as lawn mowers, motorcycles, and MP3 players surround us.
2. Social events are a challenge and much less fun if you have an untreated hearing loss. Going out with a group of friends can become impossible to enjoy. Attending a musical performance loses its appeal, and even attending worship services becomes less fulfilling. People with untreated hearing loss find it far too difficult to communicate and often refuse to attend events that were previously enjoyable.
3. People with untreated hearing loss may struggle in work environments. Americans who ignore their hearing problems are losing at least $100 billion a year in earnings. Even people with mild hearing loss, who may miss a word here and there, may have workplace consequences if they can’t completely grasp the latest news at the water cooler or the subtle nuances in a phone message from the boss.
4. Hearing is like muscle; if you don’t use it, you may lose it. When hearing loss is left untreated, the nerve that carries sound from the ear to the brain (as well as the part of the brain that understands speech) are not getting used like it was when the hearing was normal. The longer that this occurs, the harder it is to understand speech and the less success we have with hearing aids or other forms of treatment for hearing loss.
5. The best reason? There are changes in the delivery of hearing aids and related services that make it easier and less costly for those with hearing loss to get help. The cost of high quality, custom-programmed hearing aids has been a roadblock for many people. That has changed dramatically in the past year, and millions of people are benefitting from that change.