Hearing loss is incredibly common, impacting 48 million people in America and 360 million people worldwide! It’s especially prevalent amongst seniors, with over half of people age 75+ suffering from hearing loss. So if you’ve noticed that you’re struggling to hear, don’t be embarrassed and don’t feel alone. Schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested. With your audiologist’s help, you can find the right hearing aid for your needs. And once you have those hearing aids, wear them! Hearing aids don’t just help you hear in the moment; they also improve your quality of life and may prevent your hearing loss from worsening. Don’t underestimate the importance of hearing aids.
The Importance of Hearing Aids
Improved Quality of Life
Hearing loss impacts every aspect of life: your relationships, your home life, your work, your hobbies, etc. If you suffer from hearing loss, just think of all the times you’ve had to ask someone to speak up or repeat themselves. Think of the times you’ve turned up the volume on the TV so much that you annoyed everyone standing nearby. Think about the times you’ve withdrawn and sat silently during a conversation because you were struggling to hear the other participants. People with hearing loss who don’t seek treatment may suffer from isolation, depression, exhaustion, weak memory, and poor sleep (source). So if you want to improve your overall quality of life, don’t shy away from hearing aids.
Prevention of Further Hearing Loss
A study conducted at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found that chronic conductive hearing loss may lead to permanent hearing impairment if it goes untreated. Why? Dramatic changes occur in the inner ear if sound deprivation persists, including the loss of synaptic connections (which send electrical signals to the brain). So if you have conductive hearing loss and neglect your treatment for long enough, even hearing aids won’t be able to restore your hearing. Early intervention is extremely important, so be sure to visit an audiologist as soon as you suspect your hearing health has weakened.
Prevention of Cognitive Decline
According to a 2011 study and 2013 study, hearing loss may speed up age-related cognitive decline. The researchers believe this may be due to cognitive load – because the brain must put in a lot of effort to understand what the person is hearing, it has less resources to put toward memory. Another possibility is that hearing loss affects the brain structure in a way that leads toward cognitive problems. Finally, as we mentioned above, untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which has been recognized for years as a risk factor for dementia. By restoring your ability to hear properly, hearing aids may prevent cognitive decline as you age.
These days, hearing aids are more powerful and inconspicuous than ever. No one will even know you’re wearing them! So if you’ve been dreading a visit to the audiologist, shake off your worries and remember the importance of hearing aids.
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