The Hidden Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss
The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to overlook. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and forcing people to repeat themselves.
But aside from the strain this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent but more concerning.
Listed below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on essential conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your personal world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging found that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable compared to people who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can bring about damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have considerable emotional effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss encountered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends upon the degree of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to continually fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is exhausting. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular following extended meetings or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively impacted annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly associated with the amount of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially threatening conditions. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling and the likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a modest annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can substantially decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.
Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can create the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.