Hearing deficit is treacherously sneaky. It creeps up on a person through the years so gradually you hardly detect it, making it easy to deny or ignore. And then, when you eventually acknowledge the symptoms, you shrug it off as bothersome and aggravating due to the fact that its true effects are hidden.
For a staggering 48 million Americans that claim some amount of hearing loss, the consequences are significantly greater than simply irritation and frustration.1 listed here are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is significantly more dangerous than you may assume:
1. Link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A report from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging suggests that those with hearing loss are appreciably more liable to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared with people who sustain their hearing.2
Whereas the explanation for the association is ultimately undetermined, scientists suppose that hearing loss and dementia could share a shared pathology, or that years and years of stressing the brain to hear could generate damage. A different theory is that hearing loss very often results in social seclusion — a significant risk factor for dementia.
Irrespective of the cause, restoring hearing could very well be the best prevention, including the use of hearing aids.
2. Depression and social isolation
Scientists from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have shown a strong link between hearing damage and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3
3. Not hearing alerts to danger
Car horns, ambulance and law enforcement sirens, and fire alarms all are designed to warn you to potential dangers. If you miss these types of alerts, you put yourself at an higher risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Investigations show that adults with hearing loss have a 40% higher rate of decrease in cognitive function when compared to people with normal hearing.4 The leading 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 why increasing awareness as to the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s foremost priority.
5. Lowered household income
In a study of more than 40,000 households conducted by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was found to negatively impact household income by as much as $12,000 annually, based on the amount of hearing loss.5 Those who used hearing aids, however, reduced this impact by 50%.
The ability to communicate on the job is essential to job performance and promotion. The fact is, communication skills are always ranked as the top job-related skill-set coveted by employers and the leading factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
When it comes to the human body, “use it or lose it” is a saying to live by. As an example, if we don’t make use of our muscles, they atrophy or reduce in size over time, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through physical exercise and repeated use that we can recover our physical strength.
The equivalent phenomenon is true to hearing: as our hearing degrades, we get ensnared in a descending spiral that only gets worse. This is recognized as auditory deprivation, and a developing body of research is confirming the “hearing atrophy” that can occur with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
Even though the most common cause of hearing loss is related to age and regular exposure to loud sound, hearing loss is every now and then the symptom of a more serious, underlying medical condition. Potential 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
Because of the seriousness of some of the ailments, it is necessary that any hearing loss is promptly examined.
8. Greater risk of falls
Research has discovered various links between hearing loss and dangerous ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. An additional study conducted by investigators at Johns Hopkins University has found yet another discouraging link: the link between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The research suggests that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, classified as mild, were almost three times more likely to have a track record of falling. And for every extra 10-decibels of hearing loss, the probability of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The favorable part to all of this pessimistic research is the suggestion that retaining or repairing your hearing can help to lessen or eliminate these risks completely. For individuals that now have normal hearing, it is more critical than ever to protect it. And for all those struggling with hearing loss, it’s imperative to seek the services of a hearing specialist immediately.