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 requiring people to repeat themselves.
But together with the stress this places on relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.
Below are six possible 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. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your private world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable in comparison to those who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious psychological 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 extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed significant 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 continuously fill in the blanks, the extra effort is exhausting. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, in particular following prolonged meetings or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, based on 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 economic impact was directly related to the measure of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety concerns
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially threatening situations. 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 minor annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can dramatically reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can furnish the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It enables them to easily understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.