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 phone or TV and forcing people to repeat themselves.
But aside from the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.
Below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on important 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 found that those 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 used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can create impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have considerable psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on the extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed significant impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires effort, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the days end, especially after lengthy conferences or group activities.
5. Diminished work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively impacted yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly connected to the degree of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication issues and mistakes while 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 alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially hazardous situations. They’re also more likely to experience falls.
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 just about 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 host of physical, mental, and social side effects that can significantly reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the product of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can supply the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It allows them to easily understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.