Why do only 33% of Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids? Is it really because people perceive hearing aids to be too expensive?
Here in Canada too, research indicates that of the three million Canadians who have hearing loss, only one in six use hearing aids. In other words, more than 80 percent of Canadians with hearing loss struggle to hear clearly in a normal conversation. And it’s all because they don’t wear hearing aids.
The fact is many people don’t use hearing aids because they think they’re too expensive but that’s just one of the myths around hearing aids that need to be challenged.
Hearing aids are too expensive—it’s a myth
Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and Founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem Arizona states that cost isn’t the issue. He cites a number of countries that provide free hearing aids and yet the numbers of people using hearing aids in those countries are not much higher than in America or Canada.
For example, Norway provides free hearing aids for its citizens and yet the take-up is only 42.5%. In the U.K only 41.1% of hearing loss sufferers make the most of free hearing aids and in Switzerland a mere 38.8% of people who are eligible for free hearing equipment take up the offer.
It’s clearly a myth that cost is the reason hearing aid use is so low. There are other myths around hearing aids and tinnitus too and you take some serious risks if you don’t get your hearing loss treated.
So just how much do hearing aids cost?
Can I get free hearing aids in Canada?
In fact, adults and children with a valid Ontario Health Insurance Health Card are eligible for a grant covering 75% of the cost for one or two hearing aids. There is a maximum grant limit of $500 per hearing aid. If you want a more expensive model then you’re responsible for the extra cost. This site has more details about this assistive devices program.
Various charities such as the Lions may also provide financial assistance. The Elks of Canada also provides funding to cover hearing aids for children and you can learn more about that financial aid program here.
If you don’t use hearing aids you could miss out on these things
Dr Olsen cites a 2007 study that shows that people with untreated hearing loss typically earn up to $12,000 less per year. And remember that’s in 2007 dollars. The great news is when you treat that hearing loss you cut the income loss by 50% or more.
But the benefits of wearing hearing aids far outweigh any financial costs. These benefits include:
- Improving your social life—untreated hearing loss can cause feelings of social isolation and depression.
- Supporting brain and cognitive health—untreated hearing loss is strongly linked to mental decline.
- Reducing tinnitus symptoms–research shows that 60% of hearing wearers experience significant relief from their tinnitus symptoms with a further 22% finding considerable benefit.
Don’t believe the myth that hearing aids are too expensive. Talk to the experts at the House of Hearing; we can show you just how a modern hearing aid can transform your life. That’s no myth and it’s priceless.