The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to overlook. You can deny it for years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and forcing people to repeat themselves.
But on top of the stress this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
Below are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on essential conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your private world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social as compared to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to damaged relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting 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 encountered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline varies according to the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed considerable impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the days end, especially following prolonged meetings 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 adversely influenced annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly related to the level of hearing loss.
The results make sense. Hearing loss can bring on communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety concerns
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially unsafe conditions. 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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a modest inconvenience—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can radically decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the product of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can supply the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It makes it possible for them to easily understand speech, hear without continuously 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.