Neglecting Hearing Loss Can Have Dire Consequences
Hearing loss is often viewed as a normal part of aging. Currently, around 38 million people have hearing loss in America, and not all of them are in the elderly population. Sometimes, we spend years neglecting our hearing health which can result in permanent noise-induced hearing loss well before we age.
More than 50% of the people in the elderly population are often reluctant to get hearing aids out of fear of high costs, based on the findings of a recent AARP study. This study also found that one third of the participants with hearing loss viewed it as an insignificant problem that does not require any treatment.
The true cost of hearing loss goes well above the few hundred bucks that you would be spending getting hearing aids. The reality is that those with untreated hearing loss face billions of dollars in medical bills each year, directly as a result of their lack of hearing loss treatment.
People with hearing loss who do not seek treatment are often hospitalized more often than their counterparts that use hearing aids. Furthermore, these people are often re-hospitalized once more for the same conditions that they were previously hospitalized for.
Those with untreated hearing loss end up getting mediocre medical care since neither the doctors nor nurses can communicate effectively with their hearing impaired patient. As a result, this patient ends up getting sub-standard care that often requires readmission.
You may think that hearing loss is no big deal, but research begs to differ. Numerous studies, including several studies by Johns Hopkins University have found significant links between untreated hearing loss and severe cognitive decline. This level of cognitive decline due to hearing loss can actually result in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Untreated hearing loss was found to be the most frequent factor that was found to result in dementia. No such cognitive decline was found for those who used hearing aids for their hearing loss, suggesting that only those with untreated hearing loss run the risk of developing dementia.
Hearing loss also takes a toll of mental health, according to the National Council on the Aging. People with untreated hearing loss have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and even paranoia. These mental illnesses have a severe impact on their psychological and social health. Once again, those who use hearing aids were not found to be at risk of having depression and in fact, hearing aid use was found to result in recovery from hearing loss-related depression.
Other severe illnesses that come as part and parcel of untreated hearing loss include diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. With so many negative outcomes of having hearing loss, it is time to take it seriously and seek timely treatment for it. Hearing aids have been shown to improve the quality of life of its wearers while reducing the risk of cognitive and psychological decline. Talk to your audiologist about getting hearing aids today.