The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to brush off. 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 stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent but more concerning.
Listed below are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on crucial conversations and familiar 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 found that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social when compared with people who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can lead to impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have significant psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends on the extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the additional effort is exhausting. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, particularly after long meetings or group activities.
5. Diminished work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, according to 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 monetary impact was directly associated with the level of hearing loss.
The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can result in communication problems and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety considerations
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially hazardous scenarios. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been linked to 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a trivial inconvenience—it has a number of physical, mental, and social side effects that can dramatically reduce an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the outcome of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can provide you with the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It allows them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.