Every day at Amplifon Hearing Health Care, we get questions from consumers about hearing loss and hearing aids. In this series of special blog posts, one of our resident hearing health care experts, Carrie Meyer, Au.D., Director of Clinical Programs, answers some of the most frequently asked questions.
Here's the Question:
"I know that my hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. But I don’t think it’s all that bad. Why do I need to take care of my hearing loss right now?”
Dr. Meyer's Answer:
This might be the number-one question people have about their hearing health! I’d like to share five reasons why it makes sense to get treatment for hearing loss sooner rather than later.
Reason #1: Your hearing loss is probably worse than you think
Hearing often declines slowly, typically over a period of years. In many cases, this gradual deterioration allows people to adjust to their own hearing loss and not realize how bad it is. Family and friends of the hearing-impaired individual usually provide a good “barometer” of how significant the problem is. Do family and friends have to frequently repeat themselves? Are they bothered by TV or radio volume that’s “too loud?” These are just a couple common indicators that the hearing loss needs prompt attention.
Secondly, do you avoid restaurants or social situations that you once enjoyed? Social isolation is a major risk factor for individuals with untreated hearing loss. A national survey conducted by the Seniors Research Group found that only 32% of non-hearing aid wearers with hearing loss regularly participated in social activities, compared to 42% of hearing aid wearers.
Reason #2: Waiting may put your overall health at risk
While social isolation definitely has an impact on quality of life, the consequences of untreated hearing loss can be far more serious. Specifically, a number of studies have concluded that hearing loss correlates to an increased risk of life-altering health conditions, including:
- Up to five times higher risk of dementia (Johns Hopkins study)
- A 47% elevated risk of depression among older adults (Ear Science Institute)
- A three-fold higher risk of experiencing an injury-causing fall (NHANES)
Reason #3: You may be covered by your health plan
While most commercial health insurance plans do not cover the purchase of hearing aids, a growing number of them are starting to include a hearing benefit. Depending on the type of plan, you may be able to save thousands of dollars on the purchase of high-quality hearing aids, as well as the cost of related services and hearing aid batteries.
If you are on Medicare, open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7 — your opportunity to choose (or switch to) a Medicare Advantage plan that includes a hearing benefit. Be sure to carefully evaluate details of the plan’s hearing health care coverage, such as the proximity of participating providers to you, number of available hearing aid brands and models, how much in out-of-pocket expenses you’ll incur and what’s included with the hearing aids.
Reason #4: You don’t want to sacrifice FSA funds
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you can use those funds for the purchase of hearing aids and hearing health care services. Keep in mind that most FSA funds must be used before the end of the plan year, which often coincides with the end of the calendar year. With most FSAs, funds do not carry over from year to year, although some do allow a carryover of up to $500. Funds in an HSA can roll over and grow from year to year.
Reason #5: You can have peace of mind about your decision
A reputable hearing health care provider will do everything possible to ensure your satisfaction. This should include fine-tuning the hearing aids to precisely meet your needs and preferences, as well as addressing your questions and concerns. Another good indicator of a strong commitment to patient satisfaction is a trial period. (The Amplifon program includes a 60-day, risk-free trial period.)
We make it easy to take action now
Have you been putting off taking the next step in your journey to better hearing? As discussed above, the sooner you get help for your hearing loss, the sooner you can improve your quality of life while protecting your overall health. At Amplifon we make it easy to take that next step — click here to request an appointment with a qualified hearing care professional near you.