Hearing loss is serious business, but we don’t always treat it as such. Here are our top 4 reasons you shouldn’t ignore your hearing loss.
1. Live longer
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is an ongoing study run in association with the Center for Disease Control to monitor general health and nutrition of Americans. A team of doctors funded by Johns Hopkins University pulled particular data points from the survey results, primarily information concerning hearing loss and life expectancy. Since 2 out of every 3 adults over the age of 70 experience hearing loss, this was their target demographic. What they found was a 54% greater chance of mortality in those with hearing loss. Improve your life expectancy and treat your hearing loss!
2. Keep your money
Did you know that untreated hearing loss leads to more expensive treatments in the future? Annie Simpson, PhD from the Medical University of South Carolina studied the costs of medical care for a cohort of privately insured patients aged 55 to 64 years old. She found that over the course of a year and a half, the participants with hearing loss paid 33% more in health care costs in comparison to the participants without hearing loss. On average, it was a difference of $3,536. Imagine those costs multiplying over time!
3. Foster better relationships
Hearing loss impacts not only the person with the hearing loss but also their family, friends, and coworkers. It is challenging to have a conversation with constant repetition and misheard wording. Even the innuendo, tone, and pace alters when there is a mismatch in hearing levels. Eventually conversations may end and the relationship can fizzle as a result. There can also be a burden put on a partner who now has to speak louder and avoid loud restaurants or parties, causing an unexpected lifestyle shift.
4. Maintain mental health
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a connection between hearing loss and depression, especially for women. Those with hearing loss may avoid social situations, be embarrassed of their condition, feel as if they are missing out, and generally feel isolated and anxious. All these factors can lead to depression. Especially during the time of quarantining and COVID-19, it is important to reach out to loved ones with hearing loss. Living in an isolated bubble at home feels lonely, and hearing loss can make that feeling even worse.
Additionally, Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins University studied the connection between hearing loss and dementia. He notes that when your brain is forced to work harder to understand speech, it can miss out on other cues. For example, walking and talking may be a challenge. If your brain is focused on comprehending a conversation, it may not recognize a bump in the sidewalk, causing you to trip and fall. The harder your brain works to hear, the more it atrophies in other sections, which can eventually lead to a loss of brain function or dementia.
This may sound scary, but have no fear! The simple solution is to treat your hearing loss as soon as you recognize the problem. You will improve your life now and for the future.