CLERMONT, Fla. – It's not a statistic audiologists like to hear, but the average person waits seven years from the time that they first notice a hearing loss until they are evaluated.
Why are people waiting?
Dr. Kristen Weinbaum, audiologist and owner of Precision Hearing in Clermont, said many people are still trying to avoid a stigma.
"There's just a lot more to it than the cost," Weinbaum said. "Being ready to wear hearing aids, admitting that you have a problem with your hearing and, you know, people have to overcome cosmetic issues."
Avoiding a hearing test can have serious consequences for your health. Weinbaum said patients who go untreated can have issues with balance and even an increased risk of dementia.
Once patients come through the door, the cost of hearing aids can be another roadblock. The medical devices range in price from a couple hundred dollars to $3,000.
"I checked with insurance, medicare, medicaid but they wouldn't cover hearing aids," Paulette Anderson said.
She's the mother of 39-year-old Paula Anderson, who has Down syndrome and began experiencing hearing loss in middle school.
"We were yelling at her all the time," Paulette Anderson said.
Her daughter had recently been hired through the Florida Vocational Rehabilitation program that helps people with physical or mental disabilities.
After hearing tests, Weinbaum recommended Anderson apply for assistance to pay for her hearing aids through the program.
"They will pay for hearing aids," Anderson said.
Now her daughter is enjoying her job, bowling with the Special Olympics and her favorite country music.
"I think people, like, hear horror stories about this," Weinbaum said. "I'm definitely trying to prevent that every single day, I present people with all of the price options."
Precision Hearing in Clermont is offering a new leasing option for hearing aids as well. You can get more information by calling the office at 352-765-8008.