Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the US affecting older adults. One in three people aged 65 to 74 have a hearing loss, increasing to almost half of those 75+.
There are over 28.8 million American adults who could benefit from hearing aid use, but many do not seek treatment and only 30% of those over 70 use one. What many people do not realize, is that hearing loss can seriously impact your quality of life and general health. To highlight this, we will explain 5 surprising ways hearing loss can hurt you.
Risk of Accidents
Hearing loss can affect your sense of balance and your awareness of surrounding hazards. Your risk of accidents such as falls will increase as your hearing loss worsens. This John Hopkins study concluded that with a mild hearing loss, your fall risk is tripled and for each further 10 decibels lost the risk increases by 1.4 times. Read our blog ‘Can Hearing Loss Leave You Accident Prone?’ for more information.
Regular hearing checks and seeking treatment for any hearing loss is not only good for your health, it could help you live longer. A study published (Sept 24, 2015) in JAMA otolaryngology-Head and neck surgery online edition drew links between adults who had untreated hearing loss and a shorter life span.
Quality of Life
Hearing loss can cause social withdrawal and isolation which can lead to depression.
Many people start to avoid noisy places and feel they cannot enjoy the pastimes they used to. They may worry about potential embarrassments from not hearing other people well. Stress and anxiety are also common alongside the sense that you are ‘past it’ and nobody will understand.
It’s important to understand that hearing loss is very common, and speaking to close family and friends about your difficulties will help. Seeking professional help will also enable your quality of life and happiness to improve.
Related to the above point is the possibility that social isolation combined with the extra demands placed upon the brain by a hearing loss, could result in extra energy being used to process sounds. That could be at the expense of memory and thinking. This may explain why another John Hopkins study found that age-related cognitive decline increases by as much as 30-40% in people with untreated hearing loss. Positively, studies have also shown that treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids can help to reduce these risks. For more information, see our blog ‘Study Shows How Hearing Aids Can Mitigate Cognitive Decline and Memory Loss.’
A strong link has been made between hearing loss and dementia. John Hopkins found that for those with a mild untreated hearing loss they were twice as likely to develop Dementia. Alarmingly, you are 5 times more likely to develop dementia if you suffer with severe hearing loss.
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The message is clear. To look after your health, it’s best to look after your hearing. If you have any concerns please don’t delay your hearing assessment. Call Anderson Audiology today at 702-997-2964 and arrange an appointment at your convenience. Or if you’d prefer, click here to request an appointment online. Our friendly team will talk you through every step of the process.