The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to ignore. You can deny it for many years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and pressuring people to repeat themselves.
But together with the strain this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as apparent but more concerning.
Listed below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.
1. Missing out
Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on important conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your private world of sound narrows.
2. Anxiety and depression
A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that individuals with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable in comparison to those who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss can contribute to damaged relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious psychological effects.
3. Intellectual decline
Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than those with normal hearing.
The rate of decline depends on the extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.
4. Listening fatigue
Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to continually fill in the blanks, the additional effort is tiring. Those with hearing loss describe greater levels of fatigue at the days end, particularly immediately after long conferences 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 affected annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly related to the extent of hearing loss.
The findings make sense. Hearing loss can bring about communication problems and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.
6. Safety concerns
Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially hazardous circumstances. They’re also more likely to experience falls.
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 nearly 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 small annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social side effects that can substantially 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 reviewed are the product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can deliver the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.
That’s why most patients are content with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It enables them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and appreciate the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.
Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.