Despite how common hearing loss is, with 15% of Americans over 18’s having some difficulty hearing: many do not seek treatment. Of the 28.8 million U.S. adults who could benefit from using hearing aids, only 30% of those 70 and older use them.
Even more concerning is that it can take a person on average 7 years to seek professional advice. Left untreated, hearing loss can have profound impacts.
5 Ways Hearing Loss Can Affect You
Many see hearing loss as just part of aging. For others, accepting a hearing loss can be difficult. To raise awareness of how important this issue is, here are 5 ways that hearing loss can affect you.
- Depression. Hearing loss can impact your ability to listen and engage with people, or to fully participate in activities. Social isolation is a reaction to this, i.e. avoiding going to places that you feel you cannot enjoy anymore or that could lead to embarrassment. The things you used to look forward to now seem impossible. This, alongside stress and feeling nobody understands your problem, can lead to depression.
- Lifespan. A study published in JAMA otolaryngology-Head and neck surgery online edition, (Sept 24, 2015) suggested that adults with untreated hearing loss may have a shorter lifespan than those who treat their hearing problems.
- Balance. Even mild hearing loss can triple your fall risk. Every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss increases that risk by 1.4 times, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and National Institute on aging.
- Cognitive Decline. A related study from the same team found that untreated hearing loss also speeds up age-related cognitive decline by as much as 30-40%. Some possible explanations include social isolation and the fact that the brain may be expending too much energy processing sound at the expense of memory and thinking.
- Dementia. Another John Hopkins study found that adults with mild, untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. Those with severe hearing loss are 5 times as likely.
The message is clear, look after your hearing, look after your health.
Have a Question? Want to Get Your Hearing Checked? Contact Us Today!
At Hearing, Balance & Speech Center, our hearing care professionals would be happy to give you a hearing assessment. Give us a call on 203-774-5642 to arrange an appointment, or click here to request one online.