The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to ignore. You can deny it for years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But apart from the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
The following are six possible 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 found that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable in comparison to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have significant emotional effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss encountered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline varies according to the seriousness of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the additional effort is tiring. Individuals with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, particularly immediately after extended conferences 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 affected yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly associated with the extent of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially dangerous circumstances. 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a number of physical, mental, and social consequences that can considerably decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can deliver the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s performance. It allows them to easily understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and enjoy 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.