One in ten Americans suffer from hearing loss. As the population ages, by the year 2030 the number may double. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent disability among seniors, behind only arthritis and hypertension. Most hearing losses develop over a period of 20 to 30 years. All persons age 50 or over should have their hearing checked.
On average a person with a hearing loss will wait 7 years before seeking assistance. Unfortunately many persons let the hearing loss reach severe levels and live in a state of denial. Often these persons exhibit symptoms of other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Depression. They may give inappropriate responses with a sense of heightened defensiveness and negativity and may develop distrust and paranoia out of fear others may be talking about them. These feelings of anxiety and isolation can lead to total withdrawal from social activities and relationships they once enjoyed.
At this point, with age related physical limitations such as vision and dexterity issues and possible memory problems complicating matters, adapting to hearing aids will be difficult and it is likely they will never receive the level of benefit possible had they obtained help sooner. Hearing should not be left off the healthcare checklist. Obtaining professional help at the onset of hearing loss can prevent a mild impairment left denied or untreated for years from evolving into a debilitating handicap.