Hearing loss is a widespread condition among older Americans that affects one in three of those 65 or older. Even as people begin to notice shifts in their hearing capacity, they still wait an average of seven years to decide to seek treatment.
During this time, hearing loss will enact a big burden on their health and personal relationships. Hearing loss is considered a hidden disease because there is no physical evidence of its damage. Nobody can see your hearing aid at a glance. At the same time, when hearing loss is not handled as quickly as possible, there are several negative repercussions. Fortunately, you’re going to start seeing a number of benefits with treatment. Some of them are listed here.
Improved physical independence
A number of Finnish studies show that people with untreated hearing loss have restricted’ life space’ which can contribute to a feeling of social isolation. 848 men and women aged 75-90 were studied at the University of Jyvaskyla and at the University of Tampere. Their hearing capacities and physical movements were monitored for two years.
“People who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good…. (they) were more than twice as likely as others to limit their movement to nearby areas.” according to one of the researchers Hannele Polku.
She goes on to explain that this limited life space can have repercussions for their quality of life.
If we take into account where we go and the number of social interactions we have on an average day, we may then realize just how often we rely on our hearing. Indeed, something as everyday as crossing the street demands spatial awareness, and going to the grocery store needs you to maintain clear communication with the checkout clerk. Through treatment of a hearing impairment, our confidence and independence in all areas of our lives increases.
Improved earning power
Hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on work in two ways:
- Earning potential: It can reduce the earning power of the individual significantly. individuals with hearing loss made about 25% less than their hearing peers on average.
- Employment potential: People with hearing loss had an unemployment rate twice that of those without hearing loss.
Why is this the case? People have difficulty with speech recognition with hearing loss. The inability to communicate with co-workers causes greater stress and anxiety at work. It can also reduce focus and memory skills due to the burden on our cognitive ability that processing unclear sound signals can have. This leads to reduced performance on the job.
Fortunately, studies have found that people who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids can substantially mitigate these negative effects on earned income and employment prospects.
Slow cognitive decline
In many studies, untreated hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of dementia and diminished cognitive function. For those who do not use hearing aids to address hearing loss the deterioration tends to be highest.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that a reduced hearing ability can speed up atrophy in auditory areas of the brain, which will eventually ‘close the door’ when it comes to understanding and processing certain sounds.
The good news is that scientists found that hearing aids can minimize atrophy while raising listening capacity, but only if they are used early. Hearing aids can slow down the cognitive decline correlated with listening loss by improving hearing ability and ensuring the auditory part of the brain continues to be stimulated.
Once people compromise their hearing, they tend to start retreating from interactions and relationships with others, whether they are close family or friends, or even the clerk at the local bank. You can feel like a burden, always asking people to repeat themselves, or you can be ashamed that you can’t continue basic conversations, so it is easier to avoid them.
The worst thing is that people might not notice it as a hearing loss, but merely evidence of crankiness or mood swings. ⠀This may make them less understanding than if they knew about your condition. There is no reason to accept a hearing loss. The sooner you treat your hearing loss; the sooner you can get back to enjoying social interactions with those around you.
Coastal Hearing Clinic
The steps to hearing loss treatment are straightforward. It always starts with a hearing test. Our Coastal Hearing Clinic team will work with you to find the best path for your recovery. The most prescription is hearing technology which will dramatically improve your quality of life. To make an appointment, contact us today!