Hearing loss is one of the more chronic health conditions among older adults in the United States. Hearing aids provide excellent quality treatment for most people with hearing loss. However, while usage seems to be going up overall, not everyone who could benefit from hearing aids currently uses them.
Demographics of Hearing Aid Use in Older Individuals
A study published in 2020 looked at hearing aid use in 2011, 2015 and 2018, respectively. Among their findings were that:
- 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 when compared to white Americans
- Black women in particular 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 actually experienced a decrease in their 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 in their use.
It’s clear that more research is needed to assess the sociological, financial and stigma-based barriers that may prevent people from using hearing aids, as untreated hearing loss can increase your risk of various health conditions and negatively affect your quality of life.
Negative Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Because hearing loss makes it difficult to understand what’s being said, it can affect our ability to communicate with others. Not only does it make activities like attending work meetings or conversing with your server at Woodinville Café more difficult, but it can put a strain on your closest relationships as well.
Hearing loss increases misunderstandings and can lead to frustration for both the person who has the condition as well as their loved ones. Many people with untreated hearing loss can even find themselves starting to avoid social get-togethers and begin to isolate themselves from others.
Additionally, hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of several other health conditions, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Balance problems and injuries from falls
- Cognitive decline and dementia
Schedule a Hearing Test Today
Treating hearing loss is essential to stay connected to others and protecting your health. Schedule a hearing test at the first sign of an issue to help determine the degree of your hearing loss and find the right pair of hearing aids to meet your needs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Hearing Advancement Center today.