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 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 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 essential conversations and familiar sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your private world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that individuals with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable as compared to people who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can lead to impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based 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 when you struggle to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra effort is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular following extended 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 affected annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly connected to the extent of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication problems and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially threatening situations. 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 worse.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a mild inconvenience—it has a number of physical, mental, and social consequences that can dramatically decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.
Most of the consequences we just discussed are the product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can give you the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.