The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to ignore. You can deny it for many years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But together with the strain this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent but more concerning.
The following are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on important conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continuously fade as your personal world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that individuals 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 significant 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 depends on the intensity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed considerable 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 continually fill in the blanks, the extra effort is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular immediately after extended 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 impacted annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly related to the amount of hearing loss.
The results make good 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 signals to potentially threatening conditions. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.
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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a small annoyance—it has a host of physical, mental, and social side effects that can considerably decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.
Most of the consequences we just discussed are the outcome of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can give you the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It permits them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and enjoy 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.