When you get sick, you see a doctor, especially if your condition is highly treatable. (Who wants to be sick?) But if you have a hearing loss, you might be tempted to avoid or delay seeking treatment. This is unfortunate. Besides missing sounds that add meaning to life, you may be putting yourself at risk for negative consequences you never envisioned.
The fact is, most hearing losses are readily treatable with hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss, on the other hand, may contribute to one or more of the following:
Social isolation — The inability to hear conversations, especially in large, noisy gatherings, may cause you to avoid social situations. In a national survey, 42% of hearing aid wearers reported participating regularly in social activities compared to only 32% of non-wearers with a hearing loss. (Seniors Research Group)
Strained relationships — Frequently asking family members and friends to repeat themselves is an annoyance and inconvenience. By contrast, 56% of hearing-impaired individuals and 66% of family members reported improvements in relations at home with hearing aid use. (Seniors Research Group)
Depression — A nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 hearing-impaired adults and their significant others showed significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and other psychosocial disorders among those who were not wearing hearing aids versus those who used amplification (Kochkin and Rogin).
Loss of income — In a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss was shown to negatively impact household income up to $12,000 per year, depending on the degree of hearing loss. However, the use of hearing instruments was shown to offset the effects of hearing loss by 50%. (Better Hearing Institute)
Dementia — A study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers found a strong link between degree of hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia. Researchers are now looking at whether it may be possible to delay the onset of dementia by treating a hearing loss with hearing aids.
Now for some really good news: Treating a hearing loss with hearing aids isn’t just about minimizing the risks — it’s about capturing the rewards, including greater engagement in conversations, a more vibrant social life, strengthened personal connections, a healthier outlook on life and a more fulfilling and rewarding career.