The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to brush off. You can deny it for many years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and forcing people to repeat themselves.
But in addition to the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.
Listed below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on essential conversations and familiar sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your personal world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that those 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 used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can create impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have considerable psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends on the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially immediately after lengthy meetings or group activities.
5. Diminished work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss adversely impacted yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly associated with the degree of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can result in communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially dangerous conditions. They’re also more likely to experience falls.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling and the chance of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a trivial inconvenience—it has a number of physical, mental, and social effects that can radically reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can offer the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are content with their hearing aid’s performance. It makes it possible for them to easily understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.