Though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, it is often undertreated and undiagnosed. This is due to the fact that it is an invisible condition, and more often than not, it is easy to ignore or accommodate the realities of hearing loss.
Many people may ask others to speak up or they will turn up the volume on their devices. However, these quick fixes do not do much good in the long term if there is a hearing loss present. Hearing loss affects more than just our ability to hear. Read on to learn more about the wide-ranging effects of hearing loss and the significant benefits that come from seeking treatment.
There are many misconceptions about hearing loss, but perhaps the most detrimental one is that you can “just live with it.” Living with untreated hearing loss comes with many harmful effects that radiate to different areas of your life.
Earning Power: Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss earn less than colleagues who have normal hearing and colleagues who treat their hearing loss with the use of hearing aids. It is important to understand that hearing loss interferes with our ability to recognize and understand speech, which makes communication in the workplace difficult. Furthermore, hearing loss also uses more of our cognitive abilities because we are trying to make sense of muddled sound signals – thus detracting from concentration and memory, which could lead to a dip in productivity on the job.
Cognitive Abilities: A number of studies from Johns Hopkins University have pointed to a link between an increased risk for dementia and untreated hearing loss. Because hearing happens in the brain, the effects of untreated hearing loss cause a heavier cognitive load for your brain. Over time, this could exhaust your cognitive abilities, leaving you more vulnerable for developing dementia.
Personal Safety: Your hearing and balance systems are linked, and as a result, diminished hearing abilities could interfere with your sense of space and balance in your environment. Studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk for falls, accidents, and hospitalizations. Additionally, hearing loss could make it difficult for you to hear alarms and signals, which could put you inadvertently in harm’s way.
Emotional Health: Hearing loss is a physical condition, but it could deeply affect your emotional health. With communication as the bedrock for all healthy relationships, hearing loss could slowly chip away at this. Communication with your loved ones may become challenging with increasing degrees of hearing loss. You may find it difficult to hear what your loved one is saying, and you may even take offense if you misunderstand them. On the other hand, your loved one may feel as though you are inattentive or disinterested if you ask them to repeat themselves. Over time, hearing loss could lead to social withdrawal, depression, and anxiety, if left untreated.
As you can see, untreated hearing loss has the potential to affect many different areas of your life. The good news: treating hearing loss is simple and painless. With a hearing test with us at Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast, we can determine whether or not a hearing loss is present. If we do detect a hearing loss, our team will work with you to find the best solution to meet your needs.
Across the board, studies around earning power, cognitive abilities, personal safety, and emotional health have indicated that the use of hearing aids to treat hearing loss brings significant benefits. For example, a study from Japan in 2011 found that people who treated hearing loss early on maintained strong cognitive abilities (compared to counterparts who did not use hearing aids to treat their hearing loss). Studies from Finland have found that people who treat their hearing loss have a greater “life space,” meaning they venture out and interact with the world around them in greater numbers than people who do not treat their hearing loss.
When it comes down to it, the real question is: what are the benefits of not treating hearing loss? Build a healthy hearing regimen into your life and schedule an annual hearing test with us at Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast. If a hearing loss is detected, our team will work with you to find the best treatment to meet your hearing needs. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.