Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Do you have hearing loss? You may not even know it. This is because hearing loss is a progressive disease, starting subtly and becoming more severe over time. Often people don’t realize they have an issue until they struggle to hear in even the most ideal of situations. Do you find that you are asking people to repeat themselves more often than not? Do others complain that you blast the TV or radio even though it doesn’t sound loud to you? These are signs of hearing loss and putting off diagnosing and dealing with these issues can make things far worse.

Hearing Loss and Its Effect on Your Relationships

You may think that hearing loss is not a big deal, but it is ultimately a communication issue. Over time you will find that your cherished relationships start to become strained. This doesn’t happen overnight, but over many years and can leave people with chronic depression, anxiety, and loneliness as it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate. Often people with hearing loss don’t even realize they have a problem until a loved one suggests they have their hearing test. If this has happened to you, know it is an act of care and seeking treatment, usually in the form of hearing aids can allow you to slowly build up rifts between friends, family and even your significant other. Over time you can build intimacy again

Cognitive Decline

Studies show that over time, lack of stimulation to certain parts of your brain due to hearing loss can actually cause brain shrinkage. Hearing loss occurs as tiny cells which transmit sound information to the brain become damaged or die. There are many causes of this damage including exposure to noise, impact to the head, infection, old age, or certain chemical exposures. This can deprive parts of the brain of sound information and cause them to atrophy or shrink. Over time this is a major contribution to an increased risk of dementia.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

Age related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis is the most common cause of hearing loss, affecting one in three people over the age of 65 and half over 70. 65 is also an age in which your risk of dementia increases. Most individuals with dementia are 65 and older and after that, the risk doubles every five years. Dementia is a grouping of neurodegenerative diseases in which at least two areas of cognitive functioning are affected, such as memory and social skills. Overtime dementia can become so severe that people struggle to complete everyday tasks and remember the people and details, dear to their life. 

Many studies have linked hearing loss to an increase of dementia. In fact, a study by Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins University found that the severity of the hearing loss increases the risk exponentially. A mild hearing loss is said to double the risk while a moderate case of hearing loss triples the chances. Alarmingly a severe case of hearing loss increases the risk of dementia five-fold. The good news is that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can significantly lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t wait to have your hearing treated for it to get to this point.

Untreated Hearing Loss and an Increased Risk of Falls

When we are young it is easy to recover from a fall. However, as we age, a fall can mean a broken bone, and is often the gateway to a chronic illness, lack of mobility and even decreased longevity. Studies show that hearing loss is one of several factors which increase the risk of falls. This is attributed to less awareness of spatial cues, leading to more risk of accidents, falls and even death. A 2012 study found that even a  mild degree of hearing loss triples the risk of an accidental fall. The study found that this risk increases by 140 percent for every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss.

Don’t put off a hearing evaluation

Don’t let it get to this point. These are only some of the devastating effects of ignoring your hearing loss. The good news is that treatment can prevent many of these fates. Contact us today to schedule a hearing test and improve the quality of your life in the future, exponentially!