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Have you wondered if hearing aids could be right for you? If so, you are in good company. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) gives a recent estimate of 48 million people in the U.S. living with hearing loss, the third most common health condition behind arthritis and heart disease.
Popular culture and media might lead you to believe that seniors are not the only population affected by hearing loss, but this is a falsehood. Nearly a fifth of all Americans aged 12 and older have a hearing loss severe enough to negatively affect communication, according to a study by Johns Hopkins published in The Archives of Internal Medicine in 2011. It is estimated that Americans living with hearing loss outnumber those living with Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes combined. Yet, experts also estimate that only about 20 percent of people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually wear them.
People living with hearing loss and not wearing hearing aids miss out on all of the benefits they can provide. Some include: improved communication and comprehension, decreased listening effort, and staying connected to loved ones. These are just a few of the varied and many advantages of wearing hearing aids. If you are still unsure if they are for you, here are five benefits of treating disabling hearing loss with hearing aids.
Better Earning Potential
A study by the Better Hearing Institute has found that people with untreated hearing loss can earn as much as $30,000 less than their counterparts. It also found that particular risk lessened by more than 90 percent when people with mild hearing loss wore hearing aids, and almost 77 percent for individuals with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Along with the benefits to your overall health, it would behoove you to perform at your best in your place of work to ensure continued success.
Reduce Cognitive Decline
Untreated hearing loss puts a person at risk for cognitive decline. Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of developing dementia and mental fatigue and cognitive decline. Ongoing studies continue to show the correlation between untreated hearing loss and the absence of hearing aids. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that untreated hearing loss can accelerate atrophy in the auditory nerve system of the brain, where speech and comprehension occur.
However, researchers have found that hearing aids not only slow atrophy, but also improve your ability to hear and your brain’s ability to convert sounds into information. This promising area of research supports that combating disabling hearing loss with hearing aids could indeed slow cognitive decline.
The brain plays a vital role in our hearing ability and is integral to comprehension and speech, too. The inner ear has hair cells that are responsible for converting the noise gathered by the outer ear into electrical signals, which travel along an auditory nerve to the brain. Every one of the hair cells is responsible for converting a pitch or frequency. They are also irreparable if they become damaged or die, so the brain must work harder to process information it is receiving due to the loss of that function. Hearing aids can prevent the mental fatigue that comes with untreated hearing loss.
Better Quality of Life
People who wear hearing aids to treat their hearing loss have a better quality of life than those who leave their hearing loss untreated, studies have found. It is easier to communicate with friends and loved ones and communication is more productive than otherwise asking them to repeat something, mis-hearing a word or phrase, or becoming frustrated by your hearing loss.
It is important to remain socially active for a healthy quality of life. Social isolation can increase your risk of depression, cognitive decline, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. Staying connected with friends and family, in person or over the phone, promotes healthy brain activity and sharpen communication skills.
Ascent Audiology & Hearing
If you would like to know more about the many benefits of treating hearing loss, contact us at Ascent Audiology & Hearing today. We can provide you with helpful information, test your hearing, explain the results, and fit you for a hearing aid. We look forward to hearing from you!