Hearing impairment is treacherously sneaky. It creeps up on a person through the years so slowly you hardly notice, making it all too easy to deny it’s even there. And then, when you at last recognize the symptoms, you shrug it off as troublesome and irritating as its true consequences are hidden.
For about 48 million American citizens that claim some level of hearing loss, the negative effects are considerably greater than merely irritation and frustration.1 The Following Are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is much more dangerous than you might imagine:
1. Link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
An investigation from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging shows that individuals with hearing loss are appreciably more susceptible to suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared with people who sustain their ability to hear.2
Although the cause for the connection is ultimately unknown, scientists suspect that hearing loss and dementia might share a common pathology, or that decades of straining the brain to hear could cause harm. Another theory is that hearing loss often times causes social solitude — a foremost risk factor for dementia.
No matter what the cause, recovering hearing may very well be the best prevention, which includes the use of hearing aids.
2. Depression and social isolation
Researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have detected a strong connection between hearing loss and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3
3. Not hearing alerts to danger
Car horns, ambulance and police sirens, and fire alarms all are created to alert you to possible dangers. If you miss these types of indicators, you put yourself at an heightened risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Research studies indicate that adults with hearing loss face a 40% higher rate of decrease in cognitive ability in contrast to people with normal hearing.4 The leading author of the investigation, Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, stated that “going forward for the next 30 or 40 years that from a public health perspective, there’s nothing more important than cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages.” that is the reason why raising awareness as to the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s top concern.
5. Lowered household income
In a survey of over 40,000 households conducted by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was shown to negatively affect household income by as much as $12,000 annually, depending on the amount of hearing loss.5 individuals who wore hearing aids, however, lessened this impact by 50%.
The capacity to communicate on the job is vital to job performance and advancement. The fact is, communication skills are again and again ranked as the top job-related skill-set most wished for by recruiters and the leading factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
When considering the human body, “use it or lose it” is a saying to live by. For instance, if we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy or shrink with time, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through physical exertion and repeated use that we can recoup our physical strength.
The the exact same phenomenon is true to hearing: as our hearing degrades, we get stuck in a downward spiral that only gets worse. This is identified as auditory deprivation, and a ever-increasing body of research is strengthening the “hearing atrophy” that can arise with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
Although the most common cause of hearing loss is connected to age and consistent exposure to loud noise, hearing loss is occasionally the symptom of a more serious, underlying medical condition. Possible conditions include:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Otosclerosis – the solidifying of the middle ear bones
- Ménière’s disease – a disorder of the inner ear affecting hearing and balance
- Traumatic injuries
- Infections, earwax buildup, or blockages from foreign objects
- Medications – there are more than 200 medications and chemicals that are known to cause hearing and balance problems
Due to the severity of some of the conditions, it is vital that any hearing loss is rapidly examined.
8. Increased risk of falls
Research has unveiled a variety of links between hearing loss and serious ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. A further study carried out by scientists at Johns Hopkins University has discovered still another disheartening connection: the link between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The study reveals that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, categorized as mild, were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. And for every added 10-decibels of hearing loss, the chances of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The favorable part to all of this pessimistic research is the suggestion that sustaining or repairing your hearing can help to diminish or eliminate these risks entirely. For those that have normal hearing, it is more vital than ever to look after it. And for those suffering with hearing loss, it’s vital to seek the help of a hearing specialist without delay.