The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to ignore. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But on top of the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent 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 vital conversations and common 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 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 people who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can result in damaged relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious emotional effects.
3. Intellectual 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 people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends on the seriousness of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires effort, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular immediately after prolonged conferences or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, according to 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 connected to the measure of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication problems and mistakes while at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
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 experience falls.
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 more serious.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a host of physical, mental, and social consequences that can radically reduce an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.
Most of the consequences we just discussed are the product of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can provide the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s 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 out the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.