When it comes to hearing loss, there is very little argument for not treating it. Untreated hearing loss brings a number of challenges to your interpersonal relationships, your physical well-being, and your overall quality of life. Treating hearing loss is simple – it requires a hearing test. If a hearing loss is detected, then our team at The Hearing Consultants will work with you to find the best course of treatment – most commonly the prescription of hearing aids.
Here, we take a look at the benefits of treating hearing loss.
As many of us know, communication is the foundation of strong relationships. In healthy relationships, we are able to communicate what we need, and we trust that our friends and loved ones hear us and respect us. Untreated hearing loss could lead to a number of negative emotional and psychological effects. People with untreated hearing loss experience a higher risk for developing depression, anxiety, social isolation, and a drop in levels of self-confidence. With difficulties in communication, people tend to withdraw from activities and social events. This isolation actually has been linked to an increased risk for dementia as well.
When it comes to our romantic relationships with our spouses or partners, untreated hearing loss could cause bigger issues. What begins as confusion or frustration could turn into rifts in the relationship. According to a May 2015 survey, conducted for Better Hearing and Speech Month, “27 million US adults with hearing loss [cited that] the number one relationship that suffered was the one with their romantic partner (35%), followed by friends, family members, and coworkers.”
Similarly, an article from Social Work Today reports that people with untreated hearing loss “develop ways to cope with and manage hearing loss in their daily lives.” Often times, this means that people may begin to incorporate the negative aspects of hearing loss into their personalities, such as being anxious, irritable, avoidant, nonresponsive or emotionally distant. Undoubtedly, this could create significant problems with your significant other – not to mention your friends and colleagues.
If you or a loved one experiences the signs of hearing loss, the first step is to open a clear channel of communication. Though it may be a difficult conversation, it is also a crucial one to have. By treating hearing loss, you ensure that you’re able to communicate clearly with your spouse or partner, your colleagues, and your friends. More importantly, treating hearing loss ensures that your most important interpersonal relationships do not suffer.
Over the past decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have issued a number of studies that link the potential risk for developing dementia to untreated hearing loss, amongst other more immediate affects. Hearing loss actually affects the brain more than any other part of your body, as auditory processing happens in the brain. With untreated hearing loss, more common effects include impaired memory, difficulty with concentration, and the inability to complete short-term tasks.
Over the long term, untreated hearing loss could take a greater toll on your cognitive abilities. One study from Johns Hopkins suggests that untreated hearing loss creates a heavier “cognitive load” on your brain. When you struggle to make sense of sound, the resources in your brain allocated to other functions are drained. Over time, this heavy cognitive load could increase your risk for developing dementia.
The good news? Treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids actually brings significant benefits to your cognitive abilities. A 2011 study from Japan found that people who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids performed at the same level in cognitive tests as people with normal hearing. Keep your brain sharp by treating your hearing loss.
A series of studies from Finland reveal that people with untreated hearing loss have a limited “life space,” which could lead to a sense of social isolation. The University of Jyvaskyla and University of Tampere observed 848 men and women (ages 75-90), measuring their hearing abilities and monitoring their movements for a period of two years. Researchers found that the “people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good,” and that “the people who were hard of hearing were more than twice as likely as others to limit their movement to nearby areas.” According to researcher Hannele Polku, “We observed that older people with hearing problems have more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life.”
When we consider the events of a day and the number of interactions we have, we may take for granted how often we use our hearing. Just the simple act of crossing the street requires hearing abilities to maintain our safety, and interactions at a grocery store require clear communication with the checkout clerk. Treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids improves our abilities in all aspects of our life.
You don’t have to live with untreated hearing loss. Experience the benefits of treating hearing loss today by scheduling a hearing test and consultation with our team at the Hearing Consultants.