The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to brush off. You can deny it for years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But on top of the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed effects 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 lose out on crucial 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 discovered that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable compared to people who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can bring about impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on the intensity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, particularly after long meetings or group activities.
5. Diminished work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss adversely influenced yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly associated with the level of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety considerations
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially threatening 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 just about three times more likely to have a history of falling and the chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a trivial inconvenience—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social side effects that can considerably reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.
Most of the consequences we just discussed are the result of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can furnish the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It makes it possible for them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.