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 apart from the strain this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.
Listed below are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on important conversations and familiar 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 found that individuals 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 used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can result in 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 found that those with hearing loss encountered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends upon the severity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed significant impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to habitually fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is exhausting. Those with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular following 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 impacted 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 good sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication issues and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.
6. Safety considerations
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially unsafe conditions. 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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.
The truth is hearing loss is not just a modest annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can radically reduce 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 diminished sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can give you the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It permits them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.