Statistics, Facts, and Myths about Hearing Aids
Statistics, Myths, and Facts About Hearing Loss
- More than 31.5 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss- approximately one in 10 individuals. It may reach 44 million by 2030.
- Among Americans ages 46 to 64, about 15 percent already have hearing problems, according to a survey by the Better Hearing Institute.
- Two out of three people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
- Sixty percent of people with hearing loss are male.
- One in five people who could benefit from hearing devices currently ware them.
- Hearing instruments are the necessary treatment for 90 to 95 percent of people with hearing loss.
- Only 12 percent of physicians today ask patient if they have any hearing problems.
- Hearing loss leads to stress and fatigue because it requires so much effort to listen to what someone is saying – particularly in a noisy setting.
- The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) reported that hearing loss in older persons could have a significant negative impact on the quality of life. In the NCOA’s survey of 2,300 hearing-impaired adults, age 50 or older, those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and less likely to participate in organized activities, compared to those who wore hearing aids.
- People with untreated hearing loss make, on average, up to $12,000 per year less than their counterparts who have treated their hearing loss with hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids mitigates the loss in earning about 50 percent.
- Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids – they are smaller than ever with far better sound quality.
- Top-of-the-line models feature “directional” or “high definition” hearing. These devices use two microphones and an algorithm to enhance speech coming from the front (the person you are talking to), while turning down sounds coming from behind (the rest of the noisy room).
- The creation of devices using Bluetooth communication technology can turn select hearing aids into wireless, hands-free headsets. For example, Bluetooth enabled hearing aids may be compatible with Bluetooth cells phones.
- Nine out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life, according to a survey by the Better Hearing Institute of more than 2,300 consumers.
Source: Better Hearing Institute
Do hearing aids really work?
Do hearing aids really work because I have heard many complaints about them?
It is true that there are several complaints that are sometimes mentioned by hearing aid users. It is very important to trust your hearing health care provider’s recommendations as to which hearing aid is right for you. Many of the complaints are the result of a poor fit or inappropriate programming. Just as computers are improved every day so are hearing aids. Today’s technology is definitely not your “grandfather’s” hearing aid. Here are three of the most common complaints that with today’s technology are becoming myths:
Will my voice sound strange with hearing aids?
“I have heard that my own voice will sound strange.” Hearing aids amplify some or all sounds. This includes the sound of your voice. Your voice may sound different because it is being amplified by the hearing aid and because your ear canals are being occluded (plugged up) by the hearing aid. Typically after a few days using the hearing aids this sensation is improved. Also, most of today’s hearing aids feature “occlusion manager” to help minimize this effect.
Do hearing aids whistle?
“I have heard that hearing aids whistle, chirp, and feedback.” When a hearing aid is on and out of the patient’s ear it produces a noise known as feedback. Once the hearing aid is properly inserted into the ear it should not feedback. There are several common causes of this problem, all of which are easily solved.
First, you may have an earwax impaction. Excessive earwax in the canal prevents the sound from being conducted into the middle ear. The amplified sound coming out of the hearing aid reflects off the wax, leaks out of the ear, and is picked up by the microphone, which creates feedback.
Second, your hearing aid may fit too loosely due to weight loss. This allows the amplified sound to escape from your ear and be picked up again by the microphone, thus resulting in feedback.
Third, some feedback happens when you cup your hands over the ears.
Finally, many feedback problems are simply the result of a hearing aid’s volume control being turned up too high. This generally happens when your hearing loss has become worse and the hearing aid no longer matches your hearing needs. Today’s hearing aids rarely whistle due to tremendous improvements on “active feedback cancellers”. However, if you continue to have a consistent problem with feedback, your hearing aid should be checked by one of our hearing professionals.
Are hearing aids uncomfortable?
“I have heard that hearing aids are uncomfortable.” How well the hearing aid is going to fit is determined by how good of an impression was taken of your ear. In the past hearing aids used to be manufactured by hand leaving room for imperfections. These imperfections were typically bumps on the hearing aid that would put pressure in the patient’s ear and often caused sore spots. Hearing aids had to be buffed to correct these imperfections. Today, impressions are scanned by advanced computers that make a 3D digital image which allow engineers to make a hearing aid to perfectly match your ear.