The Social, Cognitive, and Emotional Benefits of Good Hearing for Senior Americans

Dr. Kevin H. Ivory, Au.D., CCC-ABrain Health, Communication, Family & Relationships, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Lifestyle and leisure, Mental Health, News, Research

The Social, Cognitive, and Emotional Benefits of Good Hearing for Senior Americans
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A

Staying in contact with other people, both friends and family, is important to seniors’ overall health. Not only can it improve people’s mood and make them feel connected with the world, but social interactions can even decrease the likelihood of developing major diseases, such as cancer, depression, and dementia. Unfortunately, one of the barriers that many seniors face when trying to remain connected with other people is hearing loss. People who are having difficulties hearing in social situations often feel left out because they can’t join in on the conversation, and they would see the benefits of hearing aids in many areas of their lives.

Percentage of American Seniors Living with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss becomes more prevalent as people age, but not everyone who would benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. In fact, according to the NIDCD, about 8.5% of adults in the age range of 55 to 64 have disabling hearing loss, and 25% of people who are ages 65 to 74 years old have disabling hearing loss. For people who are 75 and older, the percentage jumps to 50%. But when you start looking at the numbers of people who have never even tried using a hearing aid, it’s no wonder that many senior citizens have difficulty communicating and staying in contact with friends and family. About two out of three people who are aged 70 or older and would benefit from a hearing aid have never tried using them.

Social Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

When people are able to hear because they’ve been treated for hearing loss, they’re better able to communicate with their friends and family about their needs, and their ability to connect with others dramatically increases. When hearing loss isn’t addressed, people tend to withdraw from social interactions, which can have a myriad of implications on their job performance, mental acuity, and emotional wellbeing.

People’s primary relationships suffer, too. Senior citizens with spouses or other romantic partners have difficulty communicating with their partners, so there’s the loss of emotional intimacy that comes with understanding one another. When hearing loss is treated, many times, both partners are able to enjoy the benefits of both casual talks and important topics that need to be discussed.

Emotional Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

Being heard and understood is one of the basic human emotional needs. You might think that knowing that someone is there and loves you should be enough, and it does help with people’s moods, but it’s also essential for people to feel heard. People who don’t feel heard often feel anxiety and depression because of the lack of meaningful social interactions. When people are treated for hearing loss, many times, they’ll be able to resume their old conversations and regain their sense of connection with loved ones immediately.

Cognitive Benefits

Treating your hearing loss can even help you maintain many cognitive benefits. You might not realize it, but when you’re walking, you’re taking in information from the world around you through your ears. Without these cues, many people are more prone to trips, slips, and other types of falls.

Poor hearing is also linked with dementia, according to a Johns Hopkins study. In fact, the researchers found the mild hearing loss doubled risk of dementia in the 639 adults that they tracked for 12 years. Consequently, we can speculate that having poor hearing treated could decrease the likelihood that a person would get dementia.

Financial and Career Benefits

Seniors who are still in the workforce will also benefit from the ability to hear their colleagues, customers, and whoever else they interact with on a regular basis. In fact, anyone who has hearing loss and is still working should be interested in the benefits that treating hearing loss can have on their work lives. Poor hearing can even correlate to poorer job prospects and career growth within the company, which can lead to lower earnings during the working years of a person’s life. Getting treatment for hearing loss can reverse many of these problems.

Some people have reservations about getting hearing aids because they believe that they’re bulky and expensive, but there are so many benefits that anyone suffering from hearing loss can get from a hearing aid. Contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from improved hearing.