We can’t emphasize enough the importance of hearing loss treatments. Hearing loss cannot be cured—once it occurs, the only option is treating and preserving the hearing you have left. Sound serious? It is! There are many reasons to treat hearing loss as soon as possible, for your physical and mental health.
Mental benefits of hearing loss treatments
If you have hearing loss, treatment is extremely important for your mental health. One of the most damaging consequences of untreated hearing loss is increased risk of dementia and depression. According to a landmark study from Johns Hopkins that examined adults aged 50 and above, people who don’t treat their hearing loss have a 50% greater risk of developing dementia and a 40% greater risk of suffering from depression.
Hearing loss is clearly linked to cognitive decline—when you start losing your hearing, you start missing important signals that stimulate your brain and keep it active. Keeping the brain active is the best way to stave off Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline.
Untreated hearing loss can be extremely isolating and causes many people to develop depression. It’s exhausting to continually ask “What?” to people and to request that they speak louder. Eventually, many people with hearing loss entirely give up on trying to take part in conversation.
Hearing loss treatment can reverse that: with hearing aids or other methods, you can hear the TV again and call your children on the phone. In romantic couples where one person has hearing loss, poor communication can lead to anger and frustration. Treating hearing loss can bring you closer to your partner.
Hearing loss treatments: The physical benefits
In addition to a significant rise in depression and dementia, the Johns Hopkins study found that untreated hearing loss contributed to a rise in the number of falls among study participants. An analysis of the Johns Hopkins research also showed that untreated hearing loss also lead to more inpatient hospital stays and more frequent hospital readmission.
If you are an avid driver, hearing loss treatments are a necessity. Operating a car without properly hearing the sounds of the road around you can spell disaster for you and the other people on the road. Treating hearing loss is not just a matter of mental health; it’s a matter of physical safety.
The cost of hearing loss treatments
Hearing aids and other treatments are not cheap. You know this, we know this. That being said, leaving hearing loss untreated can actually lead to more costs over time. A 2016 study from the Medical University of South Carolina found that among adults with hearing loss, people who did not treat it spent around $3,500 more over the span of 18 months than people who used hearing loss treatments.
There are several possible reasons why untreated hearing loss costs more in medical bills. Untreated hearing loss can lead to more injuries, as demonstrated by the greater number of falls and medical stays. In addition, seeking medical treatment for another problem can be daunting if a person feels they cannot adequately communicate with a doctor—which leads to worse medical problems down the line.
The bottom line: Don’t play coy with your physical and mental health (not to mention your wallet). The benefits of hearing loss treatments are great, and hearing loss treatments will positively impact your life in many ways.
By: Elena McPhillips