Generally hearing loss is an effect or by-product of aging which can start anywhere from the age of 60 onwards. Today’s 60s are the 40s of the previous generation. This generation of sixties are in the prime of their lives with all faculties working to about 90% efficiency.
The human body has a time clock which kicks in even though the mind is younger than the chronological age. The wear and tear of the body starts manifesting from the age of 60 onwards. The first to get noticeably affected are the eyes and ears. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia. Dementia is not a condition when a person is stark, raving mad. Dementia is a gradual slow down of all bodily and mental functions
My father lived to the ripe old age of 87. He never used a hearing aid-not because he did not need one but because he didn’t want one. During his life time hearing aids were not so advanced. They were primitive compared to what is available today. He didn’t want to have the buzzing in his head through the day and mainly he didn’t want to hear the “bakwaas” in the house. That was his reasoning.
Other reasons why people do not want to use hearing aids are
- People do not realise they have a hearing loss and sometimes pretend they don’t have a hearing issue. Once they accept hearing loss it would be imperative to wear a hearing aid. This may be construed as a sign of ageing or a blemish on the appearances. No one would like to project an “old” image. The older one gets the more vain they become
- Many people are averse to seeing a doctor. They may find the commuting, waiting and the diagnostic/hearing centres and tests too overwhelming. This would mean a delay in treatment and a higher risk of dementia. Hearing loss can be treated. Dementia cannot be treated.
- Economics play a major role in everyone’s life. Going through the rigmarole of doctor visits, tests and buying a hearing aid could be a burden on the resources. Most insurance companies cover surgeries, hospitalization but not the cost of a hearing aid. Hearing aids are quite expensive and the cost factors are a deterrent to buying these devices.
- Many people are worried of losing or misplacing their devices: The thought of losing the hearing aids after compromising on other necessities is often a big consideration. Going through the inconveniences, compromising on other necessities only to lose their device makes a hearing impaired person take the option of not getting a device and continuing in the same way for as long as possible
- Misconceptions that the hearing aids will not work: Just because a device didn’t work for one does not mean that it will not work for everyone. In some rare cases the hearing aids do not work for various reasons. That could be because of the patient’s condition or, rarely, a faulty hearing aid. The hearing impaired, like most humans, tend to consider the most remote factors for not getting a hearing aid like loss of the device or the excuse that the device in the ear may cause further damage. Expenses and physical inconveniences can also effect the purchase of a hearing device.
It is best to address hearing loss at the earliest. Better hearing considerably reduces the risk of dementia, depression, ostracization from the family and other embarrassments. Today with the state of art devices provided by hearing aid centres one can choose a hearing aid ideally suited to individual requirements and pockets.
Like all tales end…..live happy and healthy ever after.