Hearing loss is a serious condition that affects more than just your ears. This is especially true for the senior population. In fact, one in three people over the age of 65 deal with debilitating hearing loss. For seniors affected hearing loss makes it difficult to connect to the people in your life and creates hurdles navigating the world independently. As hearing loss continues to be unaddressed it can progress into serious depression for seniors and people of all ages.
Hearing loss is a slow developing condition. At first you may not notice you have a problem at all, but as hearing loss progresses it begins to impact how you connect to the people in your life. When conversing with friends, family, co-workers and partners small parts of conversation begin to be lost. This contributes to frequent misunderstandings that start to degrade the quality of your relationships.
It is the everyday small talk, inside jokes and casual conversation that builds intimacy between friends and lovers. As hearing loss makes it more and more difficult to converse these interactions become less and less frequent. Over time this can cause huge rifts in your romantic relationship with your significant other, many times leading to divorce or separation.
At work this can affect your earnings and chances for promotions. Your employer may interpret your hearing loss as being disconnected or disorganized. Even as it is illegal to discriminate based on hearing loss, it is all too common for employers to pass up employees with untreated hearing loss for promotions and raises.
As your relationships become weaker and weaker, people tend to lose touch with friends and family. Instead they may choose to self-isolate rather than subject themselves to strained communication.
Humans are social creatures. This is why it is all too common for people with untreated hearing loss to struggle with depression, anxiety and sleep issues. As many become depressed, tired and distracted due to lost sleep, they are less prone to stepping out and venturing out in public. It becomes dangerous to navigate heavily trafficked areas as hearing becomes strained.
Hearing loss affects people’s ability to isolate the direction of a sound, making it hard to identify warning signs, such a fast approaching vehicle. This is why those who struggle with untreated hearing loss are at a higher risk for accidents, falls and hospitalizations. When people stop being active it can only exasperate mental health and the effects of depression.
While depression often manifests as sadness and hopelessness it can also create fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, irritability and loss of interest in hobbies. While not every person with hearing loss deals with depression, it is all too common. A study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found that 11% of those with hearing loss also dealt with depression as compared to the general population where 5% reported depression.
The good news is that even though hearing loss is usually permanent it can be effectively treated with hearing aids. These tiny electronic devices fit in or around the ear and amplify the specific sound information you struggle with, directly to your inner ear, so it can be processed by your brain.
Hearing aids amplify the individual pitches and tones that you struggle with, alleviating miscommunications and making it easier to heal relationships at work and home. A survey conducted by the Better Hearing Institute reported that 9 out of 10 people experienced a significant improvement in the quality of life after getting hearing aids.
If you have any reason to believe that you have even the slightest hearing loss, then it is a great idea to have your hearing tested. The longer you let your hearing loss go untreated without hearing aids, the worse your relationships can become and the higher the risk of developing depression. The longer depression goes on, often the worse it can escalate. Don’t let it get to this point.
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, hearing loss and an impact on relationships, make sure to schedule a hearing evaluation with us. The risks are too serious to ignore. Contact us today!