Hearing loss is one of the more common chronic conditions in the United States, particularly among older individuals. While hearing aids are an invaluable tool in making sure people with hearing loss can stay connected and healthy, not everyone who would benefit from using them currently does.
Hearing Aid Trends in Older Adults
A study analyzing data from the National Health Aging and Trends Study looked at hearing aid use in 2011, 2015 and 2018, respectively. Some of the more interesting findings include:
- The proportion of participants 70 years and older who wore hearing aids rose from 15% in 2011 to 16.9% in 2015 and 18.5% in 2018.
- Black Americans experienced a smaller increase in hearing aid usage than white Americans.
- Black women saw the lowest increase at just 5.8%. Comparatively, hearing aid usage in white men rose 28.7% in the same time period.
- Older adults living at less than 100% of the federal poverty level experienced a decrease in the proportion of hearing aid ownership and use from 2011-2018. However, older adults living at 200% or more above the poverty line saw an increase.
While it’s good to see that hearing aid use is rising overall, more work needs to be done to make sure that everyone who needs hearing aids has the same access to treatment, as the consequences of not treating hearing loss can be detrimental.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a progressive condition, meaning that it worsens without treatment. Not using hearing aids or other assistive listening devices can lead to problems in all aspects of life. It has been linked to:
- Increased isolation
- More mental fatigue from straining to listen
- Higher levels of stress and work
- Increased strain on relationships, in particular with your spouse or partner
- Worsening mental health, including higher levels of anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of balance issues and injuries from falls
- Higher risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia
Schedule a Hearing Test
If you’ve noticed that you’re having a hard time following work meetings or conversations with friends when out at Signature Grill, make an appointment for a hearing test. From these evaluations, an audiologist can determine the cause of your hearing loss as well as how severe it is.
With this information, you can work together to find the right pair of hearing aids that not only make listening easier but keep you happier and healthier as well.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Hearing Care by Hough today.