The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Did you know that people wait an average of seven years from the time they first experience changes in their hearing to the time they decide to seek treatment?
When it comes to hearing loss, seeking treatment brings significant benefits. Let’s take a look at the benefits awaiting those who receive hearing assistance. The following are just a few of the ways that treating hearing loss can help improve your overall health and well-being.
One of the unanticipated consequences of untreated hearing loss can be a sense of social isolation. The inability to hear in important moments can cause stress, indeed, such as the struggle to hear a cashier at a store. Yet the anxiety that comes in anticipation of these encounters can be even worse than the experience itself. Those who have hearing loss may shy away from social events – especially loud ones – when they will be expected to hear clearly. They may tend to stay at home rather than subject themselves to the embarrassment and frustration of not being able to hear their friends and loved ones. This social isolation can snowball into a massive weight of emotional struggle, ranging from frustration and anger at the experience of hearing loss to depression resulting from social isolation. A further emotional detriment of hearing loss is the inability to connect with loved ones as person once did.
Treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids will reconnect you to sounds of your life – and that includes conversations with your loved ones. Hearing aids are equipped with excellent speech recognition features, which elucidate speech even in the most challenging noise situations. Connectivity with smartphones makes it easier for you to call up your friends for a mid-day chat or FaceTime with your grandkids. With hearing assistance, people are more likely to attend social events, take classes, pursue their favorite activities, and listen to their favorite songs, to name a few – all of which brings invaluable joy to one’s life.
Beyond these emotional benefits of treatment, basic physical safety is a concern with untreated hearing loss. When moving through the world, our sense of hearing protects us from danger all the time. When crossing the street, our ears may alert us first to oncoming traffic. When driving, our ears signal to us that an emergency vehicle approaches and we need to pull over. Other sounds are essential alerts on the roadways, including honking horns, screeching wheels, or the sounds of construction zones.
These audible warning signs are crucial for our physical wellbeing. With untreated hearing loss, you may not be aware of alerts to danger. Even within the house, a fire alarm may be too quiet or at a frequency that a person is unable to hear, resulting in the danger of loss of life or limb. Use of the telephone is also necessary to call for support in the case of an emergency, requiring the user to be able to hear instructions from emergency personnel. When it comes to physical safety, hearing is often our first line of defense, so it is crucial to make sure you are able to hear clearly in any environment.
You may find it surprising that are economic benefits associated with the treatment of hearing loss. Many of our profitable endeavors require hearing to take place. Not only those who use telephones in their workplace, but any job that requires face-to-face communication requires the ability to hear clearly. If errors of understanding take place in the workplace, productivity may decline and jobs may be at risk.
When hearing is treated, the workplace flow is improved greatly. As required by law, employers are responsible for making the workplace accessible, so be sure to request accommodation to successfully perform your tasks. Seeking treatment for hearing loss has been proven to improve one’s economic prospects in the workplace. Studies have found that people who treat their hearing loss earn as much as colleagues with normal hearing.
Studies have explored the link between untreated hearing loss and dementia, which we have detailed here (link to the Hearing Loss Cognitive static page). Untreated hearing loss could significantly impact your cognitive abilities and increase the risk for developing dementia. The correlation lies at the intersection of untreated hearing loss and increased social isolation, both of which are major risk factors for developing dementia.
Treating hearing loss has been found to mitigate this risk. Significant evidence indicates that treating hearing loss supports brain function, lightens the cognitive load, and reduces social isolation, all of which help you fend off the devastating effects of cognitive decline.