The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to dismiss. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and forcing people to repeat themselves.
But together with the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent 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 common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your personal 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 those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can create impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful 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 experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends on the severity 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. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires effort, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the days end, especially after lengthy conferences 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 influenced annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly associated with the level of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety concerns
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially hazardous 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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a minor inconvenience—it has a multitude 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 almost all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the outcome of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can provide 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 makes it possible for them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.