According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss affects 20 percent of all Americans or 48 million people. One in every 5 people in the US has some hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, the chances that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself are very high.
Many people with hearing loss are resistant to even having their hearing assessed by an audiologist because they often equate hearing loss with hearing aids. As hearing loss is an invisible disability that develops in intensity over time, people often don't admit that they have a problem until it is challenging to communicate in the best possible hearing conditions. This is why on average, people wait 10 years after they suspect they need hearing aids to seek treatment.
If people understood all the benefits that hearing aids can bring to your life and the dangers of not using them, people might act sooner. Let's take a look at some of these benefits.
A considerable portion of the human brain is devoted to interpreting and processing speech and sound. As with any other muscle, though, you lose it if you don't use it! Neural pathways along which sound travels need to be exercised and continually strengthened to keep working, learning, and growing. If you reach a point where you can no longer hear higher frequencies, then the high-frequency pathways will diminish and atrophy.
This means that it is best to intervene as soon as you suspect you may have hearing loss. The atrophy of these pathways often affects neighboring pathways, like those controlling memory. Thus, hearing loss dramatically increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Early intervention at the first sign of hearing loss is essential to keeping your mind sharp, even into old age.
The ears play a crucial part in keeping your balance, and sounds help you stay connected to your surroundings. If you don't hear well, you are putting yourself at risk of falling.
This was the conclusion of a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins University. Researchers studied data from over 2,000 participants aged 40 to 69, collecting information on their hearing, demographics, and balance. They found that those with mild hearing loss (25 decibels) were three times more likely to have fallen in the past year. Every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss increased the chances of falling by 1.4 times. This link remained even after taking other factors into account.
Hearing loss can significantly impact a person's mental health, and treatment for hearing loss can help alleviate some of the adverse effects. One study found that individuals with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report symptoms of depression compared to those who received treatment for their hearing loss.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed data from an extensive, nationally representative survey of adults in the United States. The researchers found that the prevalence of depression was significantly higher among individuals with untreated hearing loss compared to those who received treatment. Specifically, depression is most prevalent (35.9%) among individuals with untreated hearing loss, compared to 16.3% among those who received treatment.
There are several reasons why treatment for hearing loss may help ward off depression. For one, untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and difficulty communicating with others, contributing to loneliness and isolation. Treatment for hearing loss, such as hearing aids, can help individuals better share with others and improve their ability to participate in social activities, which may help reduce the risk of depression.
Hearing treatment can help you reconnect with your loved ones in several ways. When you have trouble hearing, it can be challenging to participate in conversations and social activities, leading to feelings of isolation and disconnection. Treating your hearing loss can improve your ability to communicate with the people you care about, which can help strengthen your relationships and deepen your connections.
One way to think about it is to imagine that your hearing loss is like a wall that separates you from the people you love. With treatment, you can break down this wall and rebuild the bridge between you and your loved ones. By improving your hearing, you can better understand what others are saying and be more present in conversations and interactions, which can help you feel more connected and engaged with the people you care about.
Studies show that the longer you put off treating your hearing loss, the worse your condition can become. It's much better to treat your hearing loss rather than put it off for years.
Visit us at Glendora Hearing to get your hearing checked today, so we can find the best hearing aids for your needs. Once you treat your hearing loss and get used to hearing aids, you can get back to focusing on the most valuable things in your life.
Book an appointment with Dr. Kevin Ivory to start hearing better today.