Hearing provides sensory information that helps us navigate everyday life. When hearing is impaired, it often has far reaching effects that are significantly impactful. This includes straining communication, relationships, social life, and overall health. Extensive research shows that among many consequences, untreated hearing loss can increase a number of health risks. This highlights the importance of treatment which not only transforms hearing health but can also prevent other health issues.
Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a chronic medical condition that reduces capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. This creates a number of symptoms that take a toll on hearing and communication. If symptoms remain untreated, they can amplify and worsen hearing impairment. Major effects of this include:
- strained communication: common hearing loss symptoms like tinnitus (ringing sound in the ears), sounds being muffled or distorted, and struggling to hear in places with background noise make it hard to engage in and follow conversations. People may pretend to hear, experience miscommunication, cut conversations short etc. This takes a toll on conversations and communication.
- leads to social withdrawal: a common way people cope with symptoms is to avoid conversations as much as possible. This often includes spending less time with loved ones, skipping social activities, staying in etc. Social withdrawal is a major effect of untreated hearing loss. Not only does this impact relationships and social life but also one’s mental health and wellness.
- increases health risks: substantial research highlights that untreated hearing loss can increase several health risks. This includes cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, accidental injuries, and falls.
These outcomes of untreated hearing loss can worsen the longer they remain unaddressed. Over time, this can take a toll on several facets of life including health risks. Fortuenaly, there are effective hearing solutions you can access that are painless.
Health Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Treating hearing loss can improve your overall health and quality of life in significant ways. Treatment can decrease a number of health risks that are associated with untreated hearing loss. This includes the following:
- Cognitive Decline: vast research shows a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Countless studies show that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline and associated conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A major study that investigates this link included evaluating 10,107 participants. Researchers found that cognitive decline was 54% higher for people with severe hearing loss. This supports further research that identifies hearing loss as a risk factor for cognitive decline. Experts suggest that this link can be due to reduced activity of the areas of the brain that process auditory information. These portions of the brain can shrink and experience a loss of neurons as well as changes to neural networks which can impact cognitive functions and contribute to cognitive decline.
Hearing aids are the most common way hearing loss is treated. Studies show that hearing aids can alleviate this risk by providing the brain with ample support. Studies have shown that hearing aids can strengthen cognitive functions and boost brain health. This can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and enhance overall brain health.
- Depression: another health risk that is associated with untreated hearing loss is depression. A significant study found that people with hearing loss can be more than twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms – anxiety, loneliness, isolation etc. This is likely due to social withdrawal which is a common effect of untreated hearing loss. This means spending less time with others and engaging less in activities and/or hobbies. Social withdrawal can take a toll on relationships, social engagement, and mental health.
Studies show that another benefit of hearing aids is that they can alleviate depressive symptoms. An important study found that among hearing aid users, depressive symptoms improved by:
- 28% after 6 months of wearing hearing aids
- depressive symptoms continued to decrease, by 16% at the 12 month mark
Hearing aids strengthen hearing and communication which improves relationships, enriches social life, and boosts overall health. These effects enhance mental health and contribute to greater happiness.
- Accidental Injuries: untreated hearing loss can also increase the risk of accidental injuries which can impact physical health. Studies have shown that people with hearing loss can be nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. Hearing aids alleviate this risk by increasing hearing capacity and spatial awareness which contributes to greater safety and decreasing the risk of falls.
Treating hearing loss offers countless life-changing benefits like preventing other health issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation!