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 TV or phone and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But apart from the strain this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
The following are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on crucial conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continuously fade as your personal world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that individuals with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable when compared with people who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can create damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have significant emotional effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends upon the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to continuously fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is tiring. Individuals with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the days end, especially after lengthy conferences or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, according to 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 connected to the degree of hearing loss.
The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially unsafe situations. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.
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 modest annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social consequences that can considerably reduce 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 day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can provide you with the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It makes it possible for them to effortlessly 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 out the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.