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 phone or TV and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But in addition to the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
Below 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 continue to fade as your personal 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 social as compared to those who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can lead to damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have serious emotional effects.
3. Intellectual 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 on the intensity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed significant impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear specific 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, in particular after long conferences or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively influenced annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly associated with the amount of hearing loss.
The results make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication issues and mistakes at work, limiting productivity, 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 signals to potentially hazardous circumstances. 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 nearly 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 minimal annoyance—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social side effects that can substantially decrease 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 product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can provide the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It permits them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.