If you have recently received treatment for hearing loss in the form of diagnosis and dispensing hearing aids, then you know what a change it can make in your everyday life. The ability to converse more easily with people in your everyday encounters, as well as your closest loved ones, can make your life simpler and can enhance the richness of your social connections. In addition to these obvious benefits, there are hidden benefits that extend far beneath the surface, reaching areas as vital as physical health. Let’s consider some of the health benefits of treating hearing loss that make it more than worth the investment.
Although the nature of these relationships is not always clear, untreated hearing loss is connected to a wide range of physical health problems. The rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes are higher among people who have hearing loss, and researchers are seeking answers regarding this connection. One possibility is that those who have cardiovascular disease are delivering a limited supply of oxygen to the ears, depriving them of the sustaining substance.
Without enough oxygen, the tiny hairlike organelles of the inner ear called stereocilia are prone to damage. Other physical health conditions seem to be mediated through the limited physical activity that tends to occur for a person with untreated hearing loss. If a person is hesitant to engage in activity, then the body can suffer weakness, lack of exercise, and a general state of low-energy fatigue.
Recent studies have demonstrated a connection with cognitive health, as well. Those who have hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia, and once dementia sets in, cognitive decline tends to be faster for people with hearing loss, as well. What might be causing this relationship? Some point to the necessity of spoken conversation to keep the mind agile and sharp.
When a person experiences hearing loss, it is difficult to keep up with the meaning of what people have to say. Although their minds are still able to process complex thought, hearing loss limits their sensory ability to form words. It is possible that this deprivation seeps into other dimensions of cognition, as well, limiting the brain’s ability to process complex thought in other domains beyond hearing a spoken conversation.
General mental health tends to be lower among people with untreated hearing loss, as well. When a person struggles to hear in a conversation, there can be anxiety, frustration, and anger involved in the process. Feeling less useful to your family and community can lead to a wide range of negative emotion, spanning from depression to social aversion. The health problems compound for a person who would rather remain isolated at home than try to engage in difficult conversations. Becoming physically sedentary and socially isolated contributes to negative self-perception and feelings of hopelessness for many people.
While many people find themselves on a path toward poor health due to untreated hearing loss, these effects can be mitigated with the assistance of a hearing health professional. Simply making an appointment for a hearing test is the first step on the way to getting the treatment you need. Imagine the benefits that are in store for you in terms of physical, cognitive, and mental health if you are able to converse more freely and clearly. With such benefits in store for you, the investment in hearing aids is far outweighed by the added health you can enjoy.
Hearing aids today come with new and exciting features such as Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, and the ability to sync to media in your smartphone. You can even design custom hearing profiles based on your location that you can then manage through an app.
Many people are eager to use these new features that integrate a phone, radio, and television into one set of listening devices. However, other people are more hesitant to adopt these new technologies.
Whether the latest features and functions appeal to you or not, getting better hearing amplification is the key to reducing your risk of other negative health outcomes. The time is now to schedule a hearing test and to engage on the path toward treatment!