The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to just ignore. You can deny it for many 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 tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.
The following are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on important 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 revealed that those 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 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 serious emotional effects.
3. Cognitive 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 individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends upon the seriousness of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed considerable impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to continually fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, particularly after extended 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 adversely affected yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly connected to the intensity of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication problems and mistakes on the job, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety concerns
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially hazardous 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a mild annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can substantially decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the outcome of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can create the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It permits them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.