The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to dismiss. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But in combination with the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.
Listed below are six possible 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. Ordinary 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 those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social in comparison to people who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can bring about impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have considerable 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 people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline varies according to the degree of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed significant impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the extra effort is exhausting. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially immediately after lengthy meetings 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 adversely influenced annual 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 good sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication issues and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially unsafe 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 worse.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a host of physical, mental, and social side effects that can radically decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the product of diminished 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 content with their hearing aid’s performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.