Hearing damage is dangerously sneaky. It creeps up on a person over the years so gradually you hardly detect it, making it all too easy to deny it’s even there. And then, when you eventually recognize the signs and symptoms, you shrug it off as bothersome and aggravating due to the fact that its true effects are hidden.
For approximately 48 million Us citizens that say they experience some measure of hearing loss, the consequences are far greater than only irritation and frustration.1 listed here are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is far more dangerous than you may imagine:
1. Connection to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A study from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging suggests that those with hearing loss are considerably more liable to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, compared with those who maintain their hearing.2
Although the reason for the connection is ultimately unknown, researchers suppose that hearing loss and dementia could possibly share a shared pathology, or that decades of straining the brain to hear could bring on harm. A different hypothesis is that hearing loss frequently results in social isolation — a leading risk factor for dementia.
Irrespective of the cause, recovering hearing could very well be the optimum prevention, which includes the use of hearing aids.
2. Depression and social isolation
Researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have detected a strong relation between hearing impairment and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3
3. Not hearing alerts to danger
Car horns, ambulance and law enforcement sirens, and fire alarms all are specifically created to alert you to potential dangers. If you miss out on these indicators, you put yourself at an elevated risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Research studies show that adults with hearing loss see a 40% greater rate of decline in cognitive performance in contrast to those with normal hearing.4 The main author of the research, Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, said that “going forward for the next 30 or 40 years that from a public health perspective, there’s nothing more important than cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages.” That’s the reason why increasing awareness as to the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s highest priority.
5. Lowered household income
In a study of over 40,000 households performed by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was shown to negatively influence household income up to $12,000 annually, dependent on the amount of hearing loss.5 individuals who wore hearing aids, however, lowered this impact by 50%.
The capacity to communicate in the workplace is critical to job performance and advancement. In fact, communication skills are repeatedly ranked as the top job-related skill-set coveted by recruiters and the leading factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
When it comes to the human body, “use it or lose it” is a motto to live by. For example, if we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy or shrink as time passes, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through exercise and repeated use that we can recoup our physical strength.
The equivalent phenomenon is true to hearing: as our hearing deteriorates, we get ensnared in a downward spiral that only gets worse. This is identified as auditory deprivation, and a expanding body of research is confirming the “hearing atrophy” that can occur with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
While the most common cause of hearing loss is associated with age and lasting direct exposure to loud sound, hearing loss is once in a while the symptom of a more significant, underlying medical condition. Possible ailments include:
- Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Otosclerosis – the hardening of the middle ear bones
- Ménière’s disease – a disorder of the inner ear affecting hearing and balance
- Traumatic injuries
- Infections, earwax buildup, or obstructions from foreign objects
- Medications – there are more than 200 medications and chemicals that are known to cause hearing and balance problems
Because of the severity of some of the conditions, it is imperative that any hearing loss is immediately assessed.
8. Increased risk of falls
Research has found a number connections between hearing loss and serious conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. An additional study carried out by specialists at Johns Hopkins University has found still another discouraging connection: the link between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The study shows that individuals with a 25-decibel hearing loss, labeled as mild, were roughly three times more likely to have a track record of falling. And for every extra 10-decibels of hearing loss, the probability of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The encouraging part to all of this pessimistic research is the suggestion that sustaining or repairing your hearing can help to lessen or eliminate these risks entirely. For all that now have normal hearing, it is more crucial than ever to take care of it. And for those of you suffering with hearing loss, it’s imperative to seek the services of a hearing instrument specialist without delay.
- Hearing Loss Association of America: Basic Facts About Hearing Loss
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked in Study
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: NIDCD Researchers Find Strong Link between Hearing Loss and Depression in Adults
- Medscape: Hearing Loss Linked to Cognitive Decline, Impairment
- Better Hearing Institute: The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling