Top 3 Excuses for Not Getting Hearing Aids

Not being able to hear properly is incredibly exhausting. You strain to tune in to conversations in busy locations.

January 18, 2023

The Top 3 Excuses for Not Getting Hearing Aids (And Why They're All Wrong)

Not being able to hear properly is incredibly exhausting. You strain to tune in to conversations in busy locations. You have to ask people to repeat themselves. And you miss out on family gatherings because you can’t separate the voices from the noise. It can put you on edge, tire you out emotionally and mentally, and cause anger and frustration between you and the people you love. But is it worth getting hearing aids?

For the majority of adults who experience hearing loss, it seems the answer is a resounding no. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from getting hearing aids. But of that number, only 16 percent of adults ages 20 to 69 have used them. That means that the vast majority of hearing-impaired individuals aren’t doing anything to correct their hearing.

So why do people choose impaired hearing over hearing aids? It comes down to three major excuses: cost, stigma, and denial.

What Excuses Do People Make for Not Getting Hearing Aids?

The three most common excuses for not getting hearing aids when you need them seem reasonable at first. When we lose our hearing, we lose more than just the ability to hear. You lose connection with people around you. Sometimes you lose the feeling of youth. And you may even lose some of your favorite hobbies or activities.

The Top 3 Excuses for Not Getting Hearing Aids

But in every case, the excuses people make are misguided because the benefits of clear hearing far outweigh any drawbacks you might see. Let’s take a look at the top three excuses for not getting hearing aids, as well as how each of these excuses can be overcome with the right information.

Excuse #1: Hearing Aids Are Too Expensive

More often than any other reason, people who choose not to get hearing aids cite cost as a factor. The average cost of hearing aids in 2022, after all, starts at $2,000—and could be as much as $7,000. For many, that cost is prohibitive at face value.

But the market price shouldn’t be a limiting factor for getting hearing aids. Here’s why price is no excuse for living with impaired hearing.

  • Insurance Plans: while only five states require coverage for hearing aids for adults, many major insurance providers still offer benefits for people of all ages. In most cases, the coverage is anywhere from $800 to $1400 per hearing aid.
  • Health Spending Accounts: this pre-tax option allows individuals to set aside part of their pay annually as a reimbursement for health expenses. For 2023, the IRS has set the maximum contribution at $3,850 for an individual and $7,750 for a family.
  • Shop Around: prices vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so take some time to explore several brands. Each brand offers different features, but all major hearing aids will provide the correction you need to communicate with those around you without stress. You could save hundreds of dollars or more per ear by looking at several options before purchasing.
  • The Right Provider: find a provider that understands your hearing loss and lifestyle. The best providers fit hearing aids according to best practices, like real-ear verification. A good provider will keep your hearing loss, budget, and lifestyle in mind when prescribing hearing aids and offering options. Just remember: depending on where you end up, you may get what you pay for.

Excuse #2: I Don't Want to Look Old or Different

For decades, hearing aids have been considered a badge for the elderly, not a tool for the hearing impaired. That’s due in large part to the designs of older hearing aids. Getting hearing aids essentially meant looking old or weak. And for younger people, it often means standing out as different or less able. Older styles were often large, bulky, and obtrusive. It’s no wonder they have such a stigma.

But today’s hearing aids are designed to look sleek and stylish—or to not look at all. With numerous options available, it’s up to you to decide what style works best for you.

  • Behind-the-Ear: This design is the easiest to clean and maintain, as the receiver and all components are contained in a case that rests behind the ear. A small tube connected to the earpiece leads to the canal. BTE hearing aids are best for children with hearing loss or those with profound hearing loss. Its convenience is balanced by its more visible design, and it may get in the way of glasses. This is the design most people picture when they think of hearing aids.
  • Receiver-In-Canal: Similar to BTE hearing aids, but the speaker is moved into the earpiece instead of the case. They are easier to clean and more convenient for fitting and removal. RIC hearing aids also offer clear and natural sound with less feedback issues. Again, these tend to be more visible, but the clear tube and small earpiece make it relatively hard to see from a distance.
  • In-the-Ear: These single-piece hearing aids fit in the ear, but they can be more noticeable. They can be matched to skin tone for a better look, and they provide great sound quality. But earwax and moisture buildup can be a concern, and they have some feedback issues.
  • In-the-Canal and Completely-In-Canal: ITC and CIC hearing aids are the most discreet, with CIC being almost invisible. They have good sound, but they’re harder to adjust and remove than any of the other hearing aids on this list. They also have wax and moisture buildup issues. While ITC hearing aids work well with directional microphones, CIC hearing aids aren’t compatible because of their small size.

Excuse #3: I Don't Think I Have Hearing Loss"

Many people, and especially young people, may not even think they have hearing loss. Or sometimes they aren’t willing to admit they’re struggling with it. Perhaps the hearing loss is related to an injury from their youth, or it’s a gradual development from years of exposure to dangerously loud noise levels. Whatever the case, denial is a frequent reason for not getting hearing aids.

But with the benefits of hearing well and the limitations of struggling to hear, it’s important to come to terms with your hearing loss. The first step is admitting you’re struggling, and that comes through knowing the signs of hearing loss.

Symptoms of Mild Hearing Loss

In most cases, denial is most likely to occur when an individual is suffering mild hearing loss. Many of the struggles to hear specific sounds or conversations may be blamed on background noise, other conversations happening around them, or “tuning out” certain sounds. Still, these are signs that someone could benefit from hearing aids, even if they don’t see their hearing loss as a daily struggle.

  • Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
  • Difficulty understanding speech in a group setting
  • Struggling to hear high-pitched sounds, like children's voices or birds chirping
  • Having to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Symptoms of Moderate Hearing Loss

Moderate hearing loss is harder for the individual to deny, but it becomes more obvious to people around them that their hearing is not completely normal. The everyday sounds we take for granted start to disappear, and at times the hearing loss causes frustration or embarrassment with and around others.

  • Difficulty hearing speech clearly, especially in background noise
  • Struggling to hear speech on the telephone
  • Inability to hear some common sounds, like doorbells or alarm clocks
  • Having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently
  • Having to avoid social situations because of difficulty hearing

Symptoms of Profound Hearing Loss

Profound hearing loss is incredibly obvious to the people around someone suffering from it since almost all aspects of communication are difficult for them. Here, someone who is still denying their need for getting hearing aids could be only minimally aware of their deficit because they have lived with deteriorating hearing for an extended period. They will have likely developed compensating communication methods to allow them to talk with others. But it’s clear at this stage that a hearing aid isn’t a luxury, but a necessity, for the individual.

  • Difficulty hearing any speech, even in a quiet environment
  • Inability to hear common sounds, like a car engine or a knock on the door
  • Needing to rely on lip-reading or sign language
  • Difficulty hearing any sound, including extremely loud ones

Why You Should Stop Making Excuses for Not Getting Hearing Aids

Now that we’ve addressed the excuses, let’s talk about why it’s time to stop making them and get fitted for hearing aids. More than anything, hearing aids are the connection to a world that is otherwise nearly unreachable with moderate to profound hearing loss. Your relationships with friends and family will be better, and your mood will improve as you experience less frustration over missing out on conversations and experiences.

Alongside gaining these benefits, getting hearing aids also means avoiding the consequences of living without healthy hearing. One of the most significant threats is cognitive decline. While research is still ongoing, there is a strong correlation between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Social isolation is also a considerable concern when you’re unable to participate in conversations with those around you. Even just the physical inability to hear sounds that could alert you to events around you can cause greater stress and anxiety, and it can even contribute to depression.

Still, the cost of hearing aids is often a concern, even when people know they need hearing aids and aren’t concerned with how they will make them look. But even when the cost seems to be too much, it’s important to remember that not getting hearing aids means losing so much more. Hearing aids keep you close to people you love, and they keep you from stress and anxiety at work or during activities.

If you or someone you know is suffering from hearing loss and is unsure of what getting hearing aids may mean for them, we want to invite you to sit down with us and find out the truth about hearing loss and hearing aids.

We’ve helped hundreds of people recover their hearing, rejoin their family get-togethers, and participate in work and leisure activities. Our team brings a thorough screening process together with superior service and fitting so that you can get back to doing what you love with the people you love.

Call us today to schedule a consultation and screening. We’d love to hear from you!

Written by
Reviewed by
Mandy Rounseville-Norgaard Au.D.
Read full bio

Dr. Norgaard has over 15 years of experience in practicing audiology, and a lifetime of experience wearing hearing aids. Dr. Norgaard was born with significant hearing loss in both ears and has worn hearing devices since the age of 3.

Recently from our blog