The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to overlook. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and requiring people to repeat themselves.
But on top of the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.
Here are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on essential conversations and familiar sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to 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 sociable in comparison to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to damaged relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have significant psychological effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is dependent upon the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Mental exhaustion
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to continuously fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss report greater levels of fatigue at the days end, in particular after lengthy meetings or group activities.
5. Diminished work performance
The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively affected annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly related to the level of hearing loss.
The results make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication issues and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety considerations
People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially dangerous 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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a small inconvenience—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social consequences that can radically decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.
All of the consequences we just discussed are the result of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nonetheless can furnish the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It allows them to easily understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.