Treating Hearing Loss Can Help Prevent Other Health Issues

Treating Hearing Loss Can Help Prevent Other Health Issues

Peter Lucier, HIS

Do you suspect you have hearing loss? You may and not even know it. People often live with hearing loss for years unaddressed due to the gradual nature it often takes. At first you may find it’s difficult to hear in noisy settings such as restaurants with music in the backgrounds, the clattering of dishes from the kitchen and multiple conversations happening at once.  Others may refer to the sounds of birds or the wind blowing the leaves during a nature walk and you just don’t hear it.  These are early signs of hearing loss and while you may not think they are a big deal – they can turn into a host of related health conditions which are physical, emotional, and cognitive. It’s important to understand that with early diagnosis and treatment many of the following issues can be avoided.

Reduced Physical Activity

Staying active keeps us fit, stronger and even improves our mood. A recent study explored how hearing loss affects physical activity and mobility. The study published in 2021, examined activity levels from 291 adults aged 60 to 69, interviewing them about their physical activity, and comparing the results with comprehensive hearing exams. The results showed that hearing loss was linked to less physical activity, even effecting the likeliness of even light physical activity. The researchers believed this may be linked to less awareness of environment, affecting the confidence it takes to get out and try new things. 

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Even the early stages of hearing loss can affect your cognitive health.  As hearing loss develops certain sounds are lost. This causes the affected person to struggle to fill in parts of words or words in sentences.  This requires greater cognitive power and takes it away from other aspects of brain function.

In a Johns Hopkins study led by   Dr. Frank Lin, him and his team collected data from nearly 2,000 older adults. After six years they reconnected with the study participants, performing another hearing test, and doing more cognitive tests.

The results of the study showed that adults with untreated hearing loss were 24% more likely to have cognitive impairment or rapid cognitive decline. In a separate study, Dr. Lin found that even a mild case of hearing loss can double the risk of developing dementia later in life, while a moderate case triples the risk and severe case increases the risk fivefold. 

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Hearing loss is a communication issue. When we struggle it becomes hard to connect with the people we love. It’s common to become socially isolated as conversation over years becomes strained. Even amongst those you live with and love there is often a sense of loneliness as it becomes more of a challenge to connect. In a 2014 study from Johns Hopkins, it was revealed that older adults aged 60 to 84 were far more likely to feel lonely and isolated if they had hearing loss. 

Hearing Loss and Professional Success

It’s no doubt that the workplace can be a social environment. Many people build close friendships as they work side by side over years. However social issues caused by hearing loss can hinder working relationships too. As you suffer miscommunications and misunderstandings due to unaddressed hearing loss it can take a toll on professional success. You may be passed up for raises and promotions and the risk of unemployment is doubled. The Better Hearing Institute reports that on average a person with unaddressed hearing loss makes 30,000 less than contemporaries with normal hearing or who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids.

Book a Hearing Test

It’s important to understand that while hearing aids can cure hearing loss they can help you connect to the people in your life daily and help you to be more aware of the world around you. With hearing aids you can navigate the world with added confidence, staying active and connecting with the people in your life. If you suspect that you have a hearing loss do not hesitate another day to address it. Schedule a hearing exam with us today. We can get to the bottom of all your hearing issues and help you find the best hearing aids for you.