Studies have shown cost is not the main deterrent to obtaining hearing aids, so what is?
We often hear the argument that the reason only 20 percent of those with hearing loss actually gets hearing aids is because of the cost. Research has shown us that this is not the case. Even in countries with socialized medicine where one can get hearing aids (typically very basic hearing aids) for very low to no cost, the adoption rate is very similar to the US.
Why is this the case? There are many factors that might help explain the reasons for the low adoption rate of hearing aids however major reasons include:
- Vanity – Many people do not want anyone to know they have a hearing loss however the hearing loss itself is most likely more noticeable than many of the hearing aids available today!
- Perception – Many perceive hearing aids to be large, noisy, ineffective devices – maybe because they have heard so from an unhappy user! Without the proper hearing devices fit properly by a licensed professional over time, chances are the user will not be satisfied and they will spread the negative word.
- Denial – Most common of all is denial of a hearing loss in general.
While not the number one barrier, cost certainly factors into obtaining the proper hearing healthcare. The availability of cheaper products and services are certainly there however with the reduced cost generally comes reduced benefit. Remember, you need a quality product which is adjusted both acoustically and physically for your specific needs to achieve the best results, and your best possible hearing.
Someone with a hearing loss needs to want to improve their hearing first which generally breaks down many of the barriers to receiving the help. Then, one must consider how they are going to go about receiving the product and services needed to solve the problem. Experience tells us that doing a proper hearing evaluation, selecting an appropriate product, and fitting those device(s) properly for their life will result in the highest satisfaction and ultimately the greatest increase in quality of life.