Hearing loss can occur suddenly due to noise exposure or genetic diseases, or more commonly, it can happen gradually over time. In the latter case, it becomes easier to ignore the problem or outright deny that there is a problem. When the symptoms do become evident, most people perceive it as a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately, that’s the moment when anyone in this situation should seek help immediately.
Here are 8 reasons why hearing loss that goes untreated is more serious than you’d expect:
1. Hearing loss has a link to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
According to Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Aging, people with hearing loss are more prone to experience Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia compared to those who have healthy hearing. You don’t simply hear through your ears. Your brain also works to interpret sound. When you are experiencing hearing loss, straining to hear can exhaust your brain. This is commonly known as “listening fatigue”. As a result, listening fatigue can - over time - also cause damage to the brain.
Hearing loss also leads to social isolation, because the person with hearing loss or those with whom they communicate, are not putting enough effort or patience into clear communication. Social isolation is a major risk for dementia.
No matter what the cause is, slowing down or preventing further hearing loss with hearing aids is one of the best ways to treat these symptoms.
2. Depression and Isolation
According to scientific research from the National Institution on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), there has been a strong correlation between hearing problems and depression among those with hearing loss.
3. The Inability to Hear Alerts in Dangerous Situations
Ambulance and law enforcement sirens, automobile horns, and fire alarms all make noises to alert you of possible danger. Not being able to hear these sounds due to high-frequency or low-frequency hearing loss, can put you and others at higher risk of injury.
4. Poor Memory and a Decline in Mental Health
Those with hearing loss are at a 40% greater risk of a decline in cognitive function compared to those with healthy hearing. From a public health point of view, it’s important to monitor and treat cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages. Creating more awareness between hearing loss and cognitive decline is imperative. It could be you, or someone that you love and will have to take care of, who experiences this.
5. Reduced Incomes for the Household
According to a study from Better Hearing Institute, in more than 40,000 households that participated, hearing impairments had negatively impacted household income by nearly $12,000 each year, based on the range of hearing loss. Hearing aid users, however, curtailed this impact by 50%.
Being able to communicate, follow instructions, and perform tasks correctly is crucial to getting a promotion. Communication is the top job-related skill-set that is sought out by managers and the leading aspect that can get an employee promoted.
6. Atrophied Hearing and Memory Muscles
The phrase “use it or lose it” is a common phrase that we frequently hear when talking about our physical health. Regularly exercising greatly reduces the chance of having atrophied muscles. Keeping up with exercising can lead to lower powers of strength. Repeated physical activity is the only way to restore physical strength.
This same idea applies to hearing health: when our hearing wanes, we get caught up in the decline which only worsens it. This is known as auditory deprivation. A person with hearing loss can experience “hearing atrophy”.
7. Hidden Medical Problems
Even though age and over-exposure to loud noise is the most prevalent cause of hearing loss, there are some instances of hearing loss being a symptom of more severe, and hidden medical conditions. Possible illnesses may include:
Due to the gravity of these illnesses, we recommend getting a hearing test and treatment as soon as possible.
8. Higher Risk of Falls
As previously mentioned in this article, and several others, there are many connections between hearing loss, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, dementia, and depression. Falling is another serious risk when it comes to hearing loss.
Studies have indicated that anyone with 25-decibel hearing loss, which is considered mild, was nearly three times more likely to fall. For every additional10-decibels of hearing loss, the risk of falling rose by 1.4 times.
Get Your Hearing Tested
As we’ve mentioned in our blog, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. The only way to void this type of hearing loss is by wearing hearing protection or covering your ears when coming in contact with loud noises. If you are noticing hearing loss caused by loud noises or any other reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing immediately for a free hearing test and consultation.