Hearing deficit is hazardously sneaky. It creeps up on a person over the years so gradually you hardly become aware of it , making it all too easy to deny it’s even there. And afterwards, when you eventually acknowledge the symptoms, you shrug it off as inconvenient and aggravating due to the fact that its most severe consequences are hidden.
For a staggering 48 million American citizens that claim some amount of hearing loss, the negative effects are far greater than only annoyance and frustration.1 listed here are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is far more dangerous than you may think:
1. Link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A report from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging shows that individuals with hearing loss are considerably more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, when compared with people who retain their ability to hear.2
Even though the cause for the association is ultimately unknown, researchers think that hearing loss and dementia might share a mutual pathology, or that a long time of straining the brain to hear could create damage. A different theory is that hearing loss very often leads to social separation — a prominent risk factor for dementia.
Irrespective of the cause, repairing hearing may very well be the optimum prevention, including the use of hearing aids.
2. Depression and social isolation
Researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have found a strong relationship between hearing loss and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3
3. Not hearing alerts to danger
Car horns, ambulance and police sirens, and fire alarms all are formulated to alert you to possible danger. If you miss these types of indicators, you place yourself at an increased risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Reports show that individuals with hearing loss see a 40% higher rate of decline in cognitive ability compared to individuals with healthy hearing.4 The head author of the report, Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, stated that “going forward for the next 30 or 40 years that from a public health perspective, there’s nothing more important than cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages.” That’s the reason why growing awareness as to the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s leading priority.
5. Lowered household income
In a survey of more than 40,000 households performed by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was revealed to negatively affect household income up to $12,000 annually, depending on the extent of hearing loss.5 Those who used hearing aids, however, limited this impact by 50%.
The ability to communicate at the job is critical to job performance and advancement. The fact is, communication skills are time after time ranked as the number one job-related skill-set coveted by managers and the leading factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
In regard to the human body, “use it or lose it” is a mantra to live by. For example, if we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy or reduce in size over time, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through exercise and repetitive use that we can recoup our physical strength.
The equivalent phenomenon is applicable to hearing: as our hearing degrades, we get ensnared in a downward spiral that only gets worse. This is known as auditory deprivation, and a developing body of research is confirming the “hearing atrophy” that can occur with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
Despite the fact that the most common cause of hearing loss is associated with age and repeated exposure to loud sound, hearing loss is occasionally the symptom of a more significant, underlying medical condition. Possible ailments include:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Otosclerosis – the solidifying of the middle ear bones
- Ménière’s disease – a disease of the inner ear affecting hearing and balance
- Traumatic injuries
- Infections, earwax buildup, or blockages from foreign objects
- Medications – there are more than 200 medications and chemicals that are known to cause hearing and balance problems
Owing to the severity of some of the ailments, it is vital that any hearing loss is rapidly assessed.
8. Increased risk of falls
Research has uncovered numerous connections between hearing loss and dangerous ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. An additional study carried out by specialists at Johns Hopkins University has found still another discouraging link: the connection between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The research suggests that individuals with a 25-decibel hearing loss, classified as mild, were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. And for every extra 10-decibels of hearing loss, the likelihood of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The favorable side to all of this negative research is the suggestion that maintaining or repairing your hearing can help to reduce or eliminate these risks completely. For all that have normal hearing, it is more vital than ever to take care of it. And for those of you suffering with hearing loss, it’s crucial to seek the services of a hearing specialist without delay.