The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to disregard. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But in addition to the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious 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 common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your personal world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social in comparison to those who wore hearing aids.
Hearing loss can bring about impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have considerable emotional effects.
3. Cognitive decline
Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than individuals with normal hearing.
The rate of decline is based on the seriousness of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy, and when you fight to hear certain words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the extra effort is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially after long 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 yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The monetary impact was directly associated with the extent of hearing loss.
The results make sense. Hearing loss can bring on communication problems and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially hazardous circumstances. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were just about three times more likely to have a history of falling and the likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.
The reality is hearing loss is not just a trivial annoyance—it has a number of physical, mental, and social side effects that can significantly decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.
All of the consequences we just reviewed are the outcome of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can create the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It permits them to effortlessly 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 the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.