23 Feb The Devastating Consequences of Denying Hearing Aids
It’s no surprise that if you put off any health condition there will be consequences. With any condition, your prognosis is better the sooner you accept and begin treatment. The same holds true for your hearing. Our brains get a large amount of information and stimulation from our sense of hearing. When your brain becomes deprived of hearing, you open yourself up to the following:
Speech Recognition Decline
Speech recognition is the ability to not only hear but to understand words. When this ability deteriorates, you can detect something has been said, but you can no longer interpret the message. The loss of understanding ultimately occurs in the brain and cannot be reversed. Speech recognition scores gradually worsen if hearing aids are not used to treat hearing loss.
Lower Household Income
Studies have shown that hearing loss has a negative impact on household income. In fact, on average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss.
Cognitive Decline from Denying a Hearing Aid Fitting
Eventually, untreated hearing loss affects our brain and memory. A mild hearing loss may result in a 6-year age decline in cognitive performance. Older adults with hearing loss that do not get a hearing aid fitting have a 24% higher risk of cognitive impairment.
Depression and Anxiety
Poor communication often leads to depression and anxiety due to social withdrawal and lowered self-confidence. Feelings of frustration, sadness, and embarrassment are common.
Persistent Tinnitus or Ringing in the Ear
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or a humming sound that only the person experiencing it can hear. It can cause fatigue, anxiety, loss of sleep, and the inability to concentrate. Hearing loss and tinnitus are often correlated. 90% of people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss.
Relationships with Others Suffer
Relationships can be damaged by the social effects of hearing loss. Friends and family members often feel burdened by their loved ones’ untreated hearing loss. Constantly having to repeat one’s self can become frustrating and lead to quarrels. Because of the confusion and misinterpretation, spontaneous comments and conversations are avoided.
Lower Quality of Life
Untreated hearing loss can have a profound influence on the quality of life. Some people eventually withdrawal from social activities they once loved due to their hearing problem. The many barriers caused by poor communication can result in less enjoyment of life.
Navigating busy city streets can be dangerous even for those with perfect hearing. As a pedestrian or motorist, missing important sounds can have fatal consequences. Hearing loss can also create hazards within your home. Not hearing an intruder, calls for help, or a smoke alarm are legitimate concerns.
Johns Hopkins Medicine linked hearing loss and dementia in 2011. Investigators suggest that the “strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable.” Scientists report that hearing aids could delay or prevent dementia by improving a patient’s hearing.
Also in 2011, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that hearing loss may accelerate gray matter atrophy in auditory areas of the brain. “As hearing ability declines with age, interventions such as hearing aids should be considered not only to improve hearing but to preserve the brain,” said a lead Ph.D.
Hearing loss is permanent, and the health impact is undeniable. There is no doubt that it has negative effects on your brain, financial earnings, relationships, safety, and well-being. If you suspect you have a hearing loss and live in or around San Antonio, request a free hearing test. Wearing hearing aids is one of the best things you can do for your health.