Untreated Hearing Loss Costs More than Hearing Aids

Which is costlier? Hearing aids or living with untreated hearing loss?

By: Dr. Pickett of Greentree Hearing & Audiology

Untreated Hearing Loss Costs More than Hearing Aids

Untreated Hearing Loss Costs More than Hearing Aids

It is estimated that there are about 360 million people worldwide with hearing impairments. Did you know that of this number, only about 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them? On average, it takes patients about 7-10 years from the time hearing loss first emerges to the time they seek treatment from a professional. Amongst other major deterrents such as denial and fear of “appearing older”, cost is also a large reason people refrain from using hearing aids.

Let’s investigate. Which is costlier? Hearing aids or living with untreated hearing loss? You might be surprised by the answer to this question. While hearing aids are definitely a financial investment, research shows that the monetary cost of hearing aids in no way compares to the cost of living with untreated hearing loss.

Cost of untreated hearing loss at the workplace.

When trying to compensate for untreated hearing loss, there are many real emotional and monetary consequences in the workplace.

In the workplace, it is important to have high cognitive function. A study conducted by Dr. Jamie Desjardins, PhD, through the University of Texas at El Paso’s speech-language pathology program found that hearing aids greatly improve cognitive function. She conducted the study by using men and women in their 50s and 60s who have experienced hearing loss but never used hearing aids. She asked them to complete work-related cognitive ability assessments. She then asked the participants to wear hearing aids for two weeks and then re-take the assessments. The results were staggering. At a statistically significant level, participants’ scores on the cognitive ability assessments increased (read more here).

On top of increasing cognitive abilities, people simply report that their hearing aids are useful at work. A recent study by EuroTrak, which surveyed adults in the EU with hearing loss, found that about 9 out of 10 respondents reported that hearing aids were useful or extremely useful while at work.

People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to be overlooked for a promotion than those who use hearing aids. A recent study also concluded that those with untreated hearing loss were often perceived as less intelligent and less competent than their peers without hearing loss or with treated hearing loss.

Who knows, treating your hearing loss might lead to that promotion you’ve been waiting for!

Cost of untreated hearing loss on the economy.

It is estimated, that the cost of untreated hearing loss to society is about $300,000 per adult over the course of their lifetime. 67% of this number comes from lost productivity at work (hear-it.org).

Cost of untreated hearing loss on family and relationships.

Of course monetary value is extremely important when determining the cost of an important decision. However, the most important things and moments in our lives are the ones we cannot buy. The priceless lunches with family members that were scheduled for an hour and end up lasting all afternoon, or the look on your grandchild’s face when they are finally able to hit the ball in little league. Did you know that those who live with untreated hearing loss pay a huge price when it comes to family and relationships?

In 2007, a US study of Baby Boomers showed that 48% of respondents felt their marriages have suffered because of their partner’s hearing loss. A similar study was conducted in Britain, which showed that 69% of respondents felt their hearing impairment hindered their ability to connect with family, and almost 35% reported fear that their marriages may fail because of their hearing loss.

It’s not all doom and gloom. After being treated with hearing aids, relationships do improve. A Hear-the-World Foundation survey indicated that 81% of respondents were happy their partner got hearing aids, and 70% reported an improvement in their marriage.

Even more excitingly, a 2006 Hear-It Foundation study of nearly every peer reviewed article on the subject of hearing aids and relationships – showed a statistically significant improvement on relationships when hearing aids are used.

There’s no denying hearing aids are a beneficial financial investment. If you’re interested in talking through the costs and benefits associated with trying hearing aids, reach out to us at Greentree Audiology in St. Louis. We are happy to schedule a consultation and answer any questions you may have.

An added bonus – today’s hearing aids have come a long way

Modern hearing aids in 2018 give excellent value when compared to devices from 10, 5, or even just a few years ago. The latest hearing technology comes with rechargeable hearing aid batteries, iPhone connectivity and significantly faster sound processing.

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Sherry Pickett, Doctor of Audiology
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