After heart disease and diabetes, hearing loss is the third most prevalent medical condition in the US. Although in older adults it is quite common, hearing loss can impact anyone, regardless of their age. About one in three individuals over 65 years of age and 50% of individuals over 75 years of age develop hearing loss.
Living with untreated hearing loss has some serious implications, including a reduction in your quality of life, a strain on relationships with loved ones, and even accelerated cognitive decline.
Why it is so difficult to identify the signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss happens gradually, meaning that the signs may not immediately be apparent and individuals may not even notice that they are missing these everyday sounds. These sounds include singing birds or the rustling of leaves.
Hearing loss occurs unevenly. The experience of losing your hearing is not a gradual lowering of the volume. The first sounds to go are high frequency sounds, which explains why those in the early stages of hearing loss may find it harder to understand higher frequency consonant sounds like ‘s’ and ‘th’. Even though individuals find it hard to understand, they may still be able to hear others, meaning they won’t believe their hearing is compromised.
Finally, hearing loss is generally painless. Unless exposed to an extremely loud sound, there is no pain associated with it that triggers an instinctive response to reduce the pain, like we would if we had accidentally spilled coffee on ourselves.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) provides a useful checklist for identifying the signs of hearing loss. If you answer yes to many of the following statements, you may have a hearing loss.
- You ask people to repeat what they say often.
- You find it tough to follow a group conversation.
- You are convinced that everyone is mumbling.
- You often raise the volume on the TV louder than others are comfortable with.
- You find it tough to have a phone conversation.
- You don’t like going to noisy parties and restaurants.
With untreated hearing loss, individuals often avoid social circumstances where communication takes place amid a backdrop of noise. If you have discovered yourself withdrawing from social events with friends, family and coworkers, you may have a hearing loss.
The best thing you can do is to take a hearing test if you think you have hearing loss. People usually wait five to seven years on average before deciding to deal with their hearing problems. In that time, untreated hearing loss could slowly affect many areas of your life, as well as your health and well-being.
Three benefits to treating your hearing loss
You will start to experience a number of benefits by acknowledging hearing loss and seeking therapy.
- Reconnect with friends, family and loved ones
Communication is the basis of all successful relationships, be it with your partner, family, friends, or peers. Hearing aids are built to help improve speech comprehension, helping you communicate with your loved ones again.
- Earn more money
Recent research has shown that individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss who do not use hearing aids earn $5,000 to $6,000 less annually in income than their counterparts who do use hearing aids. If you have a hearing impairment, it’s clear that wearing hearing aids puts you in the best position to maximize your earning potential.
- Enjoy better cognitive health
Research from Johns Hopkins University has identified a potential connection between untreated hearing loss and a heightened dementia risk. Hearing occurs in the brain and your brain must work harder to make sense of muddled sound signals with untreated hearing loss. The cognitive load that ensues is something that accelerates cognitive decline, and with it, increases the risk of dementia. The use of hearing aids eases this cognitive load, reducing the risk of dementia with it.
The most common treatment of hearing loss is with hearing aids. Here at ALLSound Hearing, we are experts in hearing testing and hearing aid fitting. We want to help address your hearing loss problems so that you can reconnect with those around you. To schedule a hearing test, contact us at ALLSound Hearing today.