Hearing Loss Overview
Hearing loss is a prevalent condition in the US, with approximately 17% of the adult population experiencing some degree of hearing loss. And with age, the risk increases to one-third of Americans, between the ages of 65 and 74, and almost half of those over 75.
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition faced by older adults in the United States. And as our society keeps aging, the number of people with hearing loss is projected to increase accordingly. You might think the sheer ubiquity of hearing loss might make it more of an urgent public health issue, but this is sadly not the case. Only 20% of those who could benefit from treatment actively seek support, while most others prefer to wait until the problem becomes intolerable.
Addressing Hearing Loss
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Even if you are not aware of it, your brain encounters sound every microsecond of the day. You still have ambient noise around you, even if you sit in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through the ventilation. Often, our brains filter out what it deems unnecessary for us to hear.
That stimulus is significant for the brain. When hearing loss occurs, the brain does not immediately get the same volume or quality of sound. Thinking the sound that is lacking will still be there, it fails to locate it. Stress on the brain and the lack of sound stimuli can bring about a cognitive decline that later in life increases your risk of dementia.
A study from Johns Hopkins University, conducted by Dr. Frank Lin and his colleagues, revealed that “mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.”
However, when people invest in hearing aids, it has been shown to increase their cognitive ability.
Emotional and mental well-being
The most noticeable side effect on your mental health is possibly the effects of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has been related to many other mental health problems over the years. People stop trying to socialize or participate in their usual activities if they are unable to communicate effectively, which often leads to depression and psychological strain.
A study conducted in 2014 found that hearing loss correlates with an increase in depression in adults below 70. It is tough for people with hearing loss to communicate with others in social situations, which most likely accounts for these emotional problems. Fortunately, with hearing aids, people can reconnect with their loved ones and their communities.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss
If you suspect you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, it is imperative to seek treatment. It is recommended that those over the age of 50 monitor their hearing abilities with an annual hearing test. If a hearing loss is detected, then treatment can be provided immediately. Hearing loss treatment is key to improving health outcomes, improving quality of life, and reducing health care costs.
Studies have shown that managing hearing loss by use of hearing aids leads to improved job performance, stronger bonds with close personal relationships, better communication, and higher overall wellness rates. Indeed, hearing aids are an investment, but it is important to remember the cost of untreated hearing loss. We encourage you to address hearing loss early, instead of letting it go for years.
Have you noticed you are experiencing hearing loss? Call us today, and our team will be delighted to assist you on your journey to better hearing.