Many older Americans are currently feeling the effects of hearing loss. Current numbers suggest one in three people age 65 and older are affected. While hearing loss might seem like a minor inconvenience, there are a myriad of potential effects associated with the condition. Previous studies have linked to an increase in the risk of depression, dementia and even physical falls.
Unfortunately, we rarely treat it early enough. Even as people begin to notice changes in their hearing abilities, they wait an average of seven years before deciding to seek treatment. This is because unlike eyesight issues, hearing loss is considered more of an invisible condition because its effects do not immediately show themselves. But identifying and treating hearing loss early brings many benefits to an individual’s life.
Here’s what you stand to gain from treating your hearing loss early.
A recent study of the income levels of those with hearing loss (both treated and untreated) found that “people with moderate to profound hearing loss, who did not use hearing aids, experienced household incomes $5,000 to $6,000 less than their counterparts who did use hearing aids.” No matter how bad your hearing loss gets, getting it treated can help you get ahead in your industry.
An explanation for this increase in earning power can to traced to the effectiveness of a worker when all of their senses are working properly. Hearing aids make communication easier – improving clarity in meetings and among colleagues, helping you work better in teams. They also help strengthen your cognitive abilities, which leads to higher performance on tasks (especially those which require sustained focus) as well as increased memory and productivity.
Connect with your friends and family
Endless advice columns have taught us that regular communication is the key to any healthy relationship, from spouses, partners, family members, friends, to weak ties like acquaintances and work colleagues. When this breaks down, that’s when relationships take a turn for the worse.
Many of those who has a close partner or family member with hearing loss can identify with the frustration of having to repeat oneself several times a day. This kind of frustration can easily build resentment and unnecessary conflict between loved ones.
High quality hearing aids are built to specifically boost these frequencies of sound that you lose though hearing loss, making it easier to connect with those around you. This reinstates the connecting between you and your family and partners, reducing frustration and helping maintain those relationships most important to you.
Keep your brain sharp
A recent study from Johns Hopkins is one of the latest to discover a potential link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Parts of our brain reserved for processing sound are used less, and the strain of ‘filling in the gaps’ when engaged in conversations in noisy places creates a “cognitive load” that leads to exhaustion.
Hearing is as much a responsibility of the brain as it is the ears. So, when we treat hearing loss with hearing aids, this helps to reduce the load on our brains and our brains function in a healthier way. Some studies have claimed that this is what could help hearing aid wearers slow the onset of dementia later in life.
Improve your physical confidence and independence
For our safety and sense of independence, it’s important to remain physically able as we get older. But with the loss of hearing, alerts from fire alarms, car horns, doorbells, or ringing phones might be out of our auditory range. Hearing aids can help us hear these sounds and act accordingly for our safety. With the assurance gained from increased safety, hearing aid users also report feeling more confident making their way around their property and neighborhood without assistance.
As you cycle through these benefits to hearing loss treatment, remember that the benefits don’t just apply to you. They apply to those closest to you too.
If you are the main breadwinner, treating hearing loss could help make your family more financially secure through your increased earning potential. Improving the connections with your loved ones improves their mental and emotional well-being, as well as yours. The maintenance of your physical independence though the help of hearing aids will reduce the burden of care that your family members and partner will have to shoulder. This extends to any benefits in reducing the risk of dementia that treating hearing loss appears to have.
Taking charge of your hearing health benefits you as well as the people around you. If you ready to feel the benefits of improved hearing health, don’t hesitate to contact us at Evergreen Audiology today for a consultation!