Nine out of ten people who are diagnosed with hearing loss in Santa Barbara can benefit from hearing aids, but studies show only about 16 percent actually wear them. There are several oft-cited barriers to care, but most of them are really nothing more than excuses. Hearing aids are sophisticated electronic devices that do a great job of connecting you with the world, and have many great features you might not even know about.
The Hazards of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical health complaint in California. It ranks behind only arthritis and heart disease, yet unlike those conditions, there’s a pretty standard and effective treatment for most people: hearing aids.
An estimated 28.8 million Americans are diagnosed with a type of hearing loss that will benefit from hearing aid use. Choosing not to treat your impairment is taking some pretty unnecessary health risks. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical, psychological and social health complications.
Patients often withdraw from social situations; this isolation leads to loneliness and, without mental stimulation, can cause a decline in cognitive abilities. There is an increased risk of depression, dementia, kidney disease and injury related to falls. Personal relationships and job performance suffer. Even your earning power is diminished.
Untreated hearing loss has a high cost
The reasons for skipping treatment are many. They include vanity, a perception that hearing aids won’t work and high costs. But the reality is, most of these excuses don’t hold water under scrutiny. A March 2019 article in The Hearing Review states that “using hearing aids contributes to better health, higher income, and better family and social life—and has a huge positive effect on Gross National Product.”
The study found that hearing loss contributes to a $148 billion economic loss every year in the U.S. Higher unemployment rates among people with disabling hearing loss result in a loss of productivity that ends up costing another $62 billion. These figures don’t take into account the higher health care costs associated with untreated hearing loss.
The bottom line is, hearing aids work…and they work well! Gone are the big, bulky, unreliable devices you might associate with the past. Digital technology has made them small, sleek and comfortable. Sound quality is clear and distortion-free, even in challenging listening situations.
Satisfaction with hearing aids
Over 90 percent of hearing aid users are satisfied with their devices, and most report a better quality of life when wearing them.Your Santa Barbara audiologist would like to share the following five facts about hearing aids that might surprise you.
5 Hearing Aid Facts to Ring in the New Year
- Hearing aids are high-tech medical devices that amplify sounds, allowing people to hear speech, music and other sounds more in all sorts of different listening environments. Problems such as feedback and that “talking in a barrel” sensation have largely been eliminated thanks to technological Improvements.
- Hearing aids connect wirelessly with other electronic devices thanks to Bluetooth® technology. Users can wirelessly stream signals from a variety of electronic devices, including mobile phones, televisions and laptops. You can even stream music, watch TV and make phone calls directly from your hearing aids without disturbing those around you.
- Hearing aids are available with rechargeable batteries, eliminating the hassle and cost of frequently swapping out alkaline batteries. An overnight charge should supply enough power to run your devices all day long, and people with dexterity issues don’t have to worry about fumbling with tiny battery compartments. Some manufacturers offer quick-charging options that provide up to eight hours of use after a 30-minute charge.
- Hearing aids can be controlled through smartphone apps so people with poor vision and limited dexterity don’t have to fumble around with tiny buttons and controls. Today’s devices can be managed easily through companion smartphone apps that allow you to adjust the volume, fine-tune speech settings and filters and check battery status. Some even come with “find my hearing aid” features that will help you find misplaced hearing aids.
- Hearing aids offer tech-enabled customer care that saves you a trip to your audiologist’s office. All those back-and-forth visits take up valuable time and can be costly when you factor in gas; many of today’s devices include remote tech support that allows you to connect directly with a hearing care professional for simple adjustments that can often be done through your smartphone.
If you’ve been delaying getting hearing aids and are struggling with many of your daily routines, reach out to a Santa Barbara audiologist today.