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Your Healthy Family: The barriers beyond the cost of hearing aids

Posted at 9:24 AM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 09:24:12-04

When over the counter hearing aids become available next month, people who typically wouldn’t be able to buy them will have easier access. But a doctor says despite the FDA's announcement, many people who need hearing aids still won't go get them.

“About 20 percent of people who have hearing loss actually do something about it. Part of that is because of cost,” Dr. Michael Iliff, an audiologist, said.

Offering over-the-counter hearing aids will remove that barrier, but Dr. Iliff said many people will still be resistant to the thought of hearing aids.

“There was a study done, I forget how many years ago. The question was 'If hearing aids were free and invisible, would you wear them? A surprising number of people said no," Dr. Iliff said.

He said it's not about the cost: it's about embarrassment or not wanting to admit there's a problem.

"It's also about 'I'm not ready to accept this.' It takes the average person about seven years from the point that they recognize they have hearing loss, until they do something about it. I don't know why there is more of a stigma than with anything else. With vision, people will put glasses on no problem," he said.

Dr. Iliff does say technology like AirPods and blue tooth devices have decreased the stigma for people who have mild to moderate hearing loss.