The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to overlook. 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 tension 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 miss out on crucial 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 revealed that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable when compared with those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can result in impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have considerable emotional effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss encountered 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 showed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 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 continually fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Individuals with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, in particular after long meetings or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss adversely impacted annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly related to the amount of hearing loss.
The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially dangerous scenarios. 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a small annoyance—it has a number of physical, mental, and social effects that can significantly reduce an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can give you the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and enjoy 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.