In the United States, roughly 37.5 million adults have some amount of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), merely 20 percent of those who could reap the benefits of hearing aids actually use them. That means that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing choose not to do so.

And that’s not all.

After being told that they need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before even purchasing them—which is unfortunate, because for those that do decide to use hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.

Several studies have determined that wearing hearing aids improves relationships, enhances general physical and mental health, and even increases household income, as reported by the Better Hearing Institute.

Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never enjoy these advantages. And of those who will, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.

The question is: if people are holding out 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is finally convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it prompt us to deal with our own hearing loss faster?

With that in mind, we’ve collected the most common “triggers” that have inspired our patients to finally schedule a hearing test.

Here are the top five:

1. Not being able to hear the grandkids

Here’s one we’ve heard more than a few times.

The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are many times higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly hard to understand.

As a result, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or otherwise have to make them repeat themselves. After a while, the grandkids start avoiding the grandparents, and this offers a strong incentive to arrange a hearing test.

2. Strained relationships

Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.

If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably feels you communicate too loud or “selectively listen.” This produces stress, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.

Regretfully, many people wait until their partner is at a breaking point of aggravation before scheduling a hearing test. We’ve witnessed first hand that plenty of trouble could have been averted if hearing loss were addressed sooner.

3. Feeling left out

How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t fully grasp what others are saying?

Many people with hearing loss lose their self-confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the scenario than it is to struggle to hear and comprehend what’s being said. This takes many people down a path of solitude.

It’s this feeling of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that inspire people to grab the phone and book a hearing test. And there are not many activities that hearing loss doesn’t affect in a harmful way.

4. Being unproductive at work

We’ve heard countless stories of people that attain their breaking point at work. Commonly they’re at a critical meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to interrupt the meeting to get people to speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.

There’s a reason why using hearing aids is linked with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and efficient at work.

5. Concern about general health and well-being

Last but most certainly not least, people are becoming increasingly conscious of the health risks connected with hearing loss. While there are many ailments linked with diminished hearing, the most alarming connection is that between hearing loss and dementia. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing.

What’s your reason?

The bottom line is that many people wait far too long to attend to their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users report that their lives have been improved with better hearing.

If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may end up helping someone in a similar position to achieve the rewards of better hearing sooner rather than later.