The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to disregard. You can deny it for many years, compensating for substandard hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But in combination with the tension this places on relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.
Listed below are six possible 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 compared to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can result in impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have serious psychological effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends upon the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the extra effort is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the days end, especially following extended 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 affected annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly associated with the level of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially unsafe scenarios. 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 nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling and the likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a trivial annoyance—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social effects that can dramatically decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all avoidable.
Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the outcome of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can create the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most 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 many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.