The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to ignore. You can deny it for years, compensating for substandard 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 effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.
The following are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on important conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your private world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that individuals with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social in comparison to people who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have considerable emotional effects.
3. Intellectual 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 those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline varies according to the degree of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to continuously fill in the blanks, the additional effort is exhausting. Those with hearing loss report greater levels of fatigue at the days end, in particular following lengthy conferences 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 adversely affected yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly related to the level of hearing loss.
The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Those 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a minimal annoyance—it has a number of physical, mental, and social side effects that can significantly decrease 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 product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can provide you with the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It allows them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test out the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.