The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to disregard. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But in addition to the stress this places on 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 lose out on crucial conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your personal 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 in comparison to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can lead to impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious emotional effects.
3. Intellectual 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 those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on 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 certain words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the additional effort is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss report greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially 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 influenced yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly associated with the intensity of hearing loss.
The results make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication problems and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially threatening circumstances. They’re also more likely to experience falls.
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 trivial inconvenience—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social side effects that can dramatically reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can furnish the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s performance. It allows them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test out the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.