- Seniors are not proactive about treating their hearing loss
- Overestimate how others will react to them wearing hearing aids
- Underestimate others’ perception of untreated hearing loss
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – August 17, 2015 – A majority of senior citizens who suffer from hearing loss choose to ignore treatment with hearing aids and are in denial about the negative effects of these decisions. That is according to new research published today by Sivantos, Inc., manufacturer of Siemens hearing aids and one of the top three hearing aid manufacturers in the world. The company surveyed 321 attendees at the 2015 Life@50+ National Event & Expo held in May 2015. The median age of the respondents was 60-69 years old and roughly two-thirds were female.
According to the survey, more than half of seniors admit to having some degree of hearing loss yet only one in six choose to wear hearing aids. Seniors with hearing loss are also three times as likely to have elective or cosmetic procedures than they are to seek treatment for their hearing loss. Hearing was also tied for last place with a colonoscopy as the least likely health check.
For a majority of respondents, an unfounded fear that others will perceive them as old, feeble, and “kind of dorky,” prevents them from seeking treatment with hearing aids. That belief stands in stark contrast to the fact that most seniors report they do not judge others for wearing a hearing aid.
The list of contradictions does not end there. Many respondents are in denial over the social repercussions of not wearing hearing aids. One in four say they do not want to interact with someone who has trouble hearing and continuously asks them to repeat themselves (saying things like “Huh?” “Sorry, say again” and “What did you say?”). However, only 15 percent of respondents believe others react the same way when they are the ones asking others to repeat themselves.
Ignoring the problem
Although Medicare will cover a hearing test during a wellness visit if a physician believes one is necessary to screen or diagnose a patient’s hearing, most survey respondents admitted they do not have their hearing checked annually. In fact, 14 percent have had only one or two hearing tests in their entire lifetimes while 16 percent have never had their hearing tested.
- Be proactive about getting your hearing checked. Hearing loss has been associated with an earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and with depression. Even mild hearing loss, when untreated, may lead to cognitive decline. Ask your doctor for a hearing screening during your yearly checkup to be sure there are no changes.
- Boomers are concerned about staying and looking young. One of the best ways to appear and feel younger is to treat your hearing loss. This includes wearing hearing aids when you need them. Remember, modern hearing aids don’t make you look old – not addressing your hearing loss and constantly asking others to repeat themselves is what can make you look old.
- Medicare guidelines require a physician to evaluate your safety and functional ability as part of your initial wellness visit. So when you become eligible for Medicare, talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about your hearing.
- Keep socially active. Avoid irritating others by forcing them to repeat what they said. A quick and simple hearing test can help determine whether hearing aids can help you live a more engaged and healthy life.
Sivantos also recommends seniors ask family members and friends to be open and honest about any frustrations or worries they experience due to your hearing loss. Medicare covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if a doctor or other health care provider orders them. “Using hearing aids to improve even mild hearing loss can make a significant difference for seniors who want to maintain an active and healthy life,” said Scott Davis, CEO, Sivantos, Inc. “Today’s hearing aids are smart, wearable devices that are so tiny they’re barely noticeable. Some are even invisible when worn and deliver an outstanding listening experience in almost every environment.”