Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the U.S., only trailing behind heart disease and arthritis. An estimated 48 million Americans of all ages are impacted by some form of hearing loss. Approximately 1 in 8 children ages 6-19 have noise-induced hearing loss and roughly 50% of those over 75 years old struggle with hearing decline. With such high prevalence as well as risk to hearing loss, there is very little argument for not treating it. Untreated hearing loss leads to a number of difficulties in your interpersonal relationships, physical well-being, and overall quality of life.
Audiologists encourage adults to take an annual hearing test, which is the first and most simple step to improving your hearing health. If a hearing loss is identified, then our team at State Hearing and Audiology will work with you to determine the best course of treatment. Today, we’ll take a look at all the benefits of treating hearing loss.
The most obvious and perhaps most important benefit of treating hearing loss is having better communication. Untreated hearing loss often isolates people, forcing them to disengage from human connection and conversation due to communication challenges. Hearing loss treatment enables you to again connect with all the people in your life. From office chatter to engaged dinner parties, to late-night talks with your loved ones – restoring that level of communication improves your social well-being.
Over the past decade, studies have linked the potential risk for developing dementia as well as accelerated cognitive decline to untreated hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has negative effects on the brain impacting auditory processing procedures, which ultimately lead to impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, and difficulties in completing short-term tasks. A John Hopkins study revealed that untreated hearing loss takes a greater toll on your cognitive abilities, creating a heavier “cognitive load”. When you struggle to hear sounds, the resources in your brain allocated to other functions become drained. The good news is that researchers found that treating hearing loss with hearing devices significantly improves cognitive health.
Studies have also shown that untreated hearing loss being linked to a higher risk of physical falls as well as heightened exposure to car accidents. Not only will there be a greater risk of accidents, but it also leads to higher medical bills and physical discomfort. When you are able to hear better, you’re more attuned to your surroundings. The bottom line is you improve your safety when you treat hearing loss. Dedicating your time to healthy hearing is also a dedication to your bodily safety.
Treating your hearing loss greatly improves your emotional health. Untreated hearing loss not only impacts your own self-esteem and confidence, but it leads to social isolation, decreased interactions with loved ones, and ultimately depression. By getting hearing treatment and incorporating a hearing device to your life improves your sense of well-being, but more importantly, it re-connects you to friends, family, and your greater community. Through this, you will be able to build stronger relationships, make stronger emotional connections and support, all crucial to building strong emotional health. The Better Hearing Institute recently found that people who wear hearing aids to correct a hearing loss enjoy a better quality of life than those who let their hearing loss go untreated.
Getting your hearing loss treated and acquiring hearing aids is an investment in your overall health and well-being. Recent research reveals that it is also an investment in your financial future. With close to 60% of those in the U.S. workforce experience some level of hearing loss, there is a discrepancy between earning power. In an analysis of income levels of people with hearing loss (both treated and untreated) of similar employment, marital status, age, gender, and lifestyle, it was concluded that those with “moderate to profound hearing loss, who did not use hearing aids, experienced household incomes $5,000 to $6,000 less than their counterparts who did use hearing aids.”
With untreated hearing loss, communication becomes difficult, and ultimately impacts your productivity in the workplace as well as your ability to work efficiently with your colleagues. Treating hearing loss, regardless of the degree, brings a fiscal benefit to your financial situation.
At State Audiology & Hearing, our hearing health professionals can provide you a comprehensive hearing test to help you understand your hearing abilities. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.