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8 reasons to treat hearing loss early

Living with untreated hearing loss

Living with untreated hearing loss affects far more than just your ability to hear. It can also have the following effects:

  1. Your mental sharpness may decline
  2. Your risk of dementia may increase
  3. Your memory can be impaired
  4. You may feel left out of conversations
  5. Your social life may be affected
  6. You may feel anxious
  7. You may experience increased mental strain
  8. Your income may be impacted

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1. Your mental sharpness may decline

When you have difficulty hearing what’s going on around you, your mental sharpness may decline. This is because your brain isn't being stimulated as much as it could be, which could impair its ability to process sound and recognise speech.

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2. Your risk of dementia may increase

Living with even mild hearing loss can double your risk of developing dementia. The more severe the loss, the greater the risk of cognitive decline.

Moderate hearing loss, for example, triples your risk. And living with untreated severe hearing loss means you’re up to five times more likely to develop dementia. Learn more about the link between hearing loss and dementia:

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3. Hearing loss may impact your memory

Do you find it hard to remember what you’ve just heard? It can be difficult to understand and remember what’s being said when it’s a struggle to hear it in the first place.

This is because the extra cognitive resources needed to listen reduce the resources available for memory and comprehension.

Image shows a woman feeling lost in a conversation because of untreated hearing loss

4. You may feel left out of conversation

As your hearing worsens, it becomes more challenging to follow everyday conversations. You may need to ask people to repeat themselves frequently. Or you might sit closer to people so that you can read their lips or watch their facial expressions so you can understand conversations.

You may even nod and pretend to understand what's being said. Jokes aren't as funny if you miss the punchline.

5. Your social life might be affected

You may find it harder to keep in touch with your circle of friends when you have difficulty hearing. This might be more noticeable in certain situations, like larger gatherings or dinner parties.

As a result, you might find yourself withdrawing in certain social events or even declining invitations altogether. In fact, research shows that seniors with untreated hearing loss are 20–24% less likely to participate in social activities.

Image shows a man suffering with social anxiety because of hearing loss

6. You may feel anxious

As your hearing ability declines, you might find it difficult to decipher and locate sounds around you. This can lead to you to feeling more insecure about your surroundings. 

Image shows a woman suffering from anxiety due to untreated hearing loss

7. You may be more fatigued

When it’s difficult to hear, communication can be exhausting. This is because you must dig deeper into your cognitive reserves to understand what's going on around you.

Social events can be particularly taxing. For example, in restaurants or in crowds or situation where you might need to concentrate even harder to figure out what people are saying to you.

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Image shows a woman suffering at work from untreated hearing loss

8. Your earning potential may be impacted

According to the UK charity Hearing Link, people with hearing loss are paid £2,000 a year less than the general population.

Would you like to schedule new next appointment?
Please call us on 0800 037 3535

Sources

  1. Deal JA, Betz J, Yaffe K, et al, for the Health ABC Study Group. Hearing impairment and incident dementia and cognitive decline in older adults: the Health ABC Study J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2016; published online April 12. DOI:10.1093/gerona/glw069. 66
  2. Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch Neurol 2011; 68: 214–20. 67
  3. Gallacher J, Ilubaera V, Ben-Shlomo Y, et al. Auditory threshold, phonologic demand, and incident dementia. Neurology 2012; 79: 1583–90.
  4. Pichora-Fuller MK. (2008a) quoted in Convention News, “Celebrating 20 Years, AAA is Hear to Stay” from: Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. By Jason Mosheim, speech-languagepathology-audiology.advance.web.com/editorial.
  5. The National Council on Aging, The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss in Older Persons, May 1999. https://www.ncoa.org/wp-content/uploads/NCOA-Study-1999.pdf
  6. Beck DL, Clark, JL. Audition matters more as cognition declines and cognition matters more as audition declines. Audiol-ogy Today. 2009;(3):48-59.
  7. https://www.hearinglink.org/your-hearing/about-hearing/facts-about-deafness-hearing-loss/
  8. Yuan, J., Sun, Y., Sang, S., Pham, J. H., and Kong, W. J. (2018). The risk of cognitive impairment associated with hearing function in older adults: a pooled analysis of data from eleven studies. Sci. Rep. 8:2137. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20496-w
  9. Bess, F. H., & Hornsby, B. W. (2014). Commentary: listening can be exhausting--fatigue in children and adults with hearing loss. Ear and hearing, 35(6), 592–599. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603232/
  10. Packer, Lisa. "Research shows severity of tinnitus is related to emotional processing." Healthy Hearing. Accessed April 16, 2019.