Investing in Your Health- Treating Hearing Loss

Investing in Your Health by Treating Hearing Loss

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

As we age, the reality of hearing loss becomes more likely. For those of us 65 years and older, one in three of us will have some hearing loss and by 75 years and beyond, one in two will live with this very permanent condition. However, you don’t even have to be in this demographic to have hearing loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that 1.1 billion people 12 to 35 have hearing loss due to noise exposure at entertainment venues and due to personal headphone use. 

Accepting the reality of hearing loss is the first step towards getting the treatment you need to truly thrive in life. While untreated hearing loss has been linked to higher rates of loneliness, social isolation, depression, cognitive decline and bodily harm, the good news is that by treating your hearing loss with hearing aids you can avoid many of these serious quality of life issues.

The Amazing Power of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are tiny electronic devices which fit in the ears and can be digitally programmed to amplify sounds you struggle with. This allows you to communicate with added clarity. In addition, this instills people with more confidence to try new things, connect to more people and explore more options in life. However, of those 12-69 who could benefit from hearing aids, only 16 percent have ever tried them. Of those 70 and older this number only jumps to 30 percent. All too often, people put off treatment because of stigmas around hearing aids, worrying that they will make people appear old or weak. In addition, many people are put off by high price points for hearing aids. However, It is important to understand the important investment of hearing aids and their very valuable returns. 

An Investment in Stronger Relationships

When you live with untreated hearing loss it makes it difficult to hear all the people in your life and this can impact your ability to connect even with those closest to you. The people in your life might not understand that you have a hearing loss. Instead, they may misconstrue your hearing loss as you seeming disinterested in what they are saying or distracted. They may feel like you aren’t listening to them, when in fact, you simply can’t hear them. This can build up to very hurtful feelings of resentment over years between family members, friends and even your significant other. It can lead to increased sense of loneliness even when together and social isolation. However, when you invest in hearing aids, you can improve your ability to communicate. It may take time, focus and commitment, but with time, you can start to repair rifts in relationships and find a way to feel even more connected than before.

An Investment in Mental Health

When your relationships are affected it’s all too common to feel depressed. Because hearing loss is a permanent condition, depression continues to build over years, creating chronic feelings of loneliness, depression, and social anxiety. Living with depression is extremely dangerous to our overall health, increasing the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which makes it difficult to rest and increases blood pressure. Untreated, chronic stress and depression can lead us to make poor health choices around activity and diet as well as increase our risk of heart attack or stroke! However, when you invest in hearing aids, you have a chance to connect to the people and the life you’ve always loved. Those who use hearing aids for a year or more, often report more likelihood to try new things and be more engaged with the people and activities they love to do.

An Investment in Cognitive Health

While we collect sound with our ears, hearing happens in the brain. Hearing loss interrupts the connection between the ears and the brain and can cause cognitive decline as sounds are deprived. In fact, research has shown that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline leading to higher rates of dementia later. However, with hearing aids, you have a chance to hear with greater clarity, reducing the strain on your cognitive function and reducing your risk of decline as we age.

An Investment in Your Finances

Many people are resistant to trying hearing aids due to their cost, however when you invest in hearing aids, you are also investing in your relationships, mental health, cognitive health, and quality of life. In the long run, you’ll end up saving money avoiding some of these high-cost risks of untreated hearing loss. To find out more, schedule a hearing exam with us today.