Here are two interesting statistics:
- Hearing loss is very common, affecting 50 percent of U.S. adults over 60, two-thirds of adults over 70, and four of every five people 85 plus.
- Yet fewer than 20 percent of people with hearing loss obtain treatment.
So why the disparity between the large number of people who have hearing loss and the too few who decide to treat it?
Cost certainly comes into play — hearing aids are an investment that many insurance policies don’t currently cover — but stigma, too, is a treatment barrier, as many people have equated the use of hearing aids with devices that older people wear.
The past is past
How hearing aids looked in the past didn’t help with this perception. Typically big and almost always beige, nothing about them said “discreet” or “cutting edge”. Plus, until recently, few people went about their daily life with gadgets sticking in or on their ears. So when someone was wearing hearing aids, it caught our attention.
Hearing aid stigma is no longer deserved
But today’s hearing aids are discreet and come in an assortment of cool colors — yes, you can still choose beige if you want — and wearing things in our ears is so common today that no one looks twice if you’re sporting headphones or earbuds or hearing aids.
Thanks to research and numerous scientific studies, we’re also much more aware of the impact untreated hearing loss has on our overall health and quality of life. We know, for instance, that untreated hearing loss is linked to decreased cognitive function, higher incidences of hospitalizations, depression and falls, and increased risk of social isolation and dementia.
Living a vibrant life is the future
All this — combined with people’s increased desire to take charge of how they age, nip health and wellness issues in the bud, and live a vibrant life — is why more people are comfortable wearing hearing aids and why hearing aid stigma is going away.
Don't believe us? Shark Tank co-star Daymond John actually wears red hearing aids, to “drown out haters” and show the world he’s got nothing to hide.
Lastly, none of this even touches on how new hearing aids — leading with Starkey’s latest designs — do so much more than just help you hear your best and stay connected to family and friends. They can connect to your smart phone, stream phone calls and music, translate languages, count your steps, detect falls, find lost phones, act as a virtual assistant, and so much more.
As one hearing aid wearer bluntly put it, “I want every competitive advantage I can possibly get.”
If you’re ready to see how far hearing aids have come and hear and live as best you can, we can help. Simply type your zip code in here and a list will pop up of local hearing healthcare professionals who can test your hearing and demonstrate Starkey's latest hearing aid technology.
Join our community of Starkey Blog subscribers
Want a week's worth of Starkey blogs delivered to your inbox? Sign up here.