Accepting and Affording Hearing Loss: an Uphill Battle
Treatment may be costly, but ignoring a hearing problem could be worse.
US NEWS & World Report
By Lacie Glover
Life can be difficult for the hearing impaired, and is often accompanied by isolation and increased social anxiety. Even though hearing loss is a common problem with many available treatment options, most people let it go for more than 10 years before seeking a hearing aid, according to a Health Technology Assessment out of the United Kingdom in 2007.
“Hearing loss is invisible and insidious. I don’t think people really think about that,” says audiologist Deborah Berndtson, spokeswoman for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. According to ASHA, about 17 percent of Americans report partial hearing loss, but only 1 in 5 seeks help for it.
A hearing problem, whether you know about it or not, can often lead to unintended consequences, Berndtson says. Professionals in the workforce who don’t treat hearing loss “will often suffer financially. They won’t get that raise or promotion because they’re not hearing well,” she says. Whether the perception is that they don’t understand what’s going on or that they don’t address their communication strategies, “people will see that. They miss out.”