The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to dismiss. 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 on top of the strain this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
Here are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on important conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common 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 revealed that those 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 used 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 significant 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 individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on the seriousness of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to continuously fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular immediately after long conferences 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 negatively affected annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly associated with the extent of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication issues and mistakes while 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 signals to potentially threatening circumstances. 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 just about three times more likely to have a history of falling and the chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a minimal annoyance—it has a number of physical, mental, and social side effects that can considerably decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the product of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can offer the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.