The latest figures by the World Health Organization suggest that nearly 50 million Americans currently suffer from hearing loss, making it the third most common health condition in the United States after heart disease and arthritis. According to The Hearing Health Foundation, there are more Americans living with hearing loss than those living with Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes combined. But amazingly, only around 20% of those who need hearing aids are actually using them.
There are many benefits of treating hearing loss, the most obvious being the ability to communicate better with those around you. People who have taken the step to identify and act on their own hearing loss have been rewarded with improvements to many aspects of their life, including areas they hadn’t even considered. So, for those who are still undecided, here are some of the most important benefits of treating your hearing loss.
1. Increase your earning power
Not many people know that hearing aids could increase their earning power. The Better Hearing Institute recently found that not treating hearing loss can lower annual earnings by as much as $30,000. The same study found using hearing aids lowered this risk of reduced earnings by over 90 percent for people with mild hearing loss, and almost 77 percent for individuals with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Explanations for this trend could lie in the increased levels of communication and productivity an individual is likely to have when their hearing is improved.
2. Reduce cognitive decline
Higher level cognitive functioning can also be affected by hearing loss. When scrambled words reach the brain during hearing loss, the cognitive work required to decipher the sentence and fill in the gaps puts an extra load on brain functions, exhausting the individual and taking diverting resources away from other parts of the brain. This can impact memory recall.
This can be mitigated with hearing aids, according to researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK. They found that wearing hearing aids are strongly linked to a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline, reducing cognitive decline by as much as 75% according to their research.
The research, led by Dr. Piers Dawes, was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and was carried out using 2040 respondents to a survey in the American Health and Retirement survey from 1996 to 2014. The survey assessed cognitive decline by testing memory, asking participants to recall 10 words at the start and end of the survey. The researchers then compared the rates of decline before and after the patients started wearing a hearing aid.
3. Reduce annoyance related to tinnitus
Tinnitus is a high-pitched ringing or clicking noise in the ears and is endured by 50 million Americans. Many hearing aids now come with tinnitus management features which help mask the sound of tinnitus, making it easier to ignore and focus on the other sounds in your life.
4. Reduce your risk of depression
Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression. That is the conclusion of a number of articles published recently. It is easy to see why this is the case. People with hearing loss tend to shy away from noisy social situations which leads to them becoming more socially isolated, making them more susceptible to depression. Another recent study has shown that those with hearing loss are 57 percent more likely to suffer from stress and bad moods compared to those with normal hearing.
5. Maintain better connections with those you care about
Communication is important to maintain all social relationships, but it is probably most important for the romantic ones. Any marriage counselor will agree. In 2007 a study found that half of those surveyed thought that the quality of their marriage had declined as a direct result of hearing loss. Conversely, another study by The Hear-the-world Foundation discovered 70% of respondents were sure that hearing aids had improved their relationship.
Many hearing aids today come with special technology which allows the wearer to focus in on the conversation he or she wants to have. This makes it easier for you to meet your friends in the café and decompress after a long day. Don’t underestimate the power of this kind of social contact. Meeting with friends helps people reduce stress and maintain important connections with their friends, which is one of the key ingredients for a good quality of life.
Visit Us at Ascent Audiology and Hearing
Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Do you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss? At Ascent Audiology and Hearing, we provide comprehensive hearing health services and can help you with treatment. Take the first step to experiencing the benefits of hearing loss treatment today – and contact us for an appointment!