The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to just ignore. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But aside from the stress this places on relationships, there are additional, concealed 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 miss out on crucial conversations and familiar 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 found that people 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 wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can lead to damaged relationships, 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 impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed significant impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra effort is exhausting. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the days end, especially after long meetings or group activities.
5. Reduced work performance
The Better Hearing Institute found that, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively influenced yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly related to the amount of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication issues and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts 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 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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a modest annoyance—it has a host of physical, mental, and social side effects that can radically reduce an individual’s overall 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 diminished 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 avert most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It enables them to easily understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.