Hearing is precious! When you suffer from hearing loss it can affect not only important aspects of your life, but create tension with family and friends. Recent research has demonstrated that there are many consequences of untreated hearing loss on one’s long-term health and quality of life. It negatively impacts your health, social participation, daily activities, performance at work and even playing sports. The National Council on Aging in 1999 (Kochkin & Rogin, 2000) conducted a survey of nearly 4,000 adults with hearing loss. The findings showed significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other psychosocial disorders in individuals with hearing loss who were not wearing hearing aids. Loss of hearing can also become dangerous when you’re unable to notice nearby hazards, affecting your sense of independence and security. Studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University have also shown a link between the degree of hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia.
The impact of untreated hearing loss cannot be ignored. Difficulty hearing can make you anxious that you’re missing crucial information, and it’s also physically and mentally exhausting when constantly straining to hear and interpret what’s going on around you. However, with early and thorough evaluations and treatment, you can lessen those negative consequences. Studies have shown that negative consequences improved after wearing hearing aids, thus allowing the hearing aid user to remove or reduce barriers to communication and create a better quality of life for both themselves and their friends and family.
There are benefits to treatment, yet some people delay getting help due to cosmetic concerns: ‘what will other people think about me if they know I have a hearing aid?’ There is often a fear of having to rely on an artificial device; however, Audiologists have University training to help with these concerns. Using a hearing aid presents a number of advantages, besides significantly improving your hearing. When it becomes easier to hear what people are saying, you improve your social, psychological and physical sense of well-being. Your relationships, self-esteem, independence, concentration, and mental health can improve with proper treatment.
Hearing aid technology is changing all the time. Some of today’s best hearing aids are extremely discreet, with faster computer chips, and more technology and sophistication. They are also able to act like wireless headphones, connecting to your TV, computer, and radio. Some can even access Bluetooth on the user’s cell phone. Many types of hearing aids today have noise filtering technology that reduces background sounds so you can hear what your tablemate is saying in a busy restaurant. One of the more surprising hearing aid advantages is the masking of tinnitus, which is ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be experienced intermittently or constantly.
If you or someone you know has a hearing loss, help is often just a phone call away. Getting a hearing test is the first step. A hearing test doesn’t hurt, it’s non-invasive and it doesn’t take very long. From there your Audiologist will discuss the results and prescribe a hearing device if needed. Often there is a 30 day trial to ensure a positive benefit before purchasing. Hearing loss doesn’t need to define you; there are options to improve your quality of life. If you think your hearing has diminished, it’s worth making an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing check.