“What was that?” “huh?!” If this was you the last time you went to a party, then it may be a sign you have some hearing loss. We recommend that the sooner you test for hearing loss and take action around it, the better. Hearing loss is much more than simply struggling to hear. Beyond its impact on your relationships, overall mood, self- confidence and cognitive performance, hearing loss is found to affect your mobility. When understanding the full impact of hearing loss, it quickly becomes a quality of life issue for the millions affected in the United States.
Aging and Quality of Life
Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age, however by far the most common cause of hearing loss is age related. One in three people 65 years and older struggle with hearing loss. This number jumps to one in two of everyone over 75 years and older in the US. Aging should be a time to reflect on your life, celebrate your achievements, and enjoy what you have. However, to do this, it’s essential that you stay up to date on your health. We may be wiser, but our bodies are less resilient and take a bit more care to fully access a higher quality of life as we age. Part of a high quality of life is being able to be active and connected to the world around you. It is essential to consider hearing health as a key factor in continued independence in your golden years.
Addressing Hearing Loss to Improve Mobility and Quality of Life
To better understand the implications of hearing loss on mobility and quality of life, a recent study from the University of Jyvaskyla and the University of Tampere in Finland sought out to fully quantize hearing loss’s effects. The study found that “older people with hearing problems have more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life,” and that “the movement of older people is often negatively affected by their hearing loss.”
Over two years, researchers monitored 848 older people (ages 75 to 90) to track their movements in conjunction with degrees of hearing loss from mild to severe. Results show that “people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good.”
One researcher, Hannele Polku, explains, “a person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may be affected by everyday functioning. On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one’s own doesn’t experience the same number of problems due to a change of similar degree in hearing.”
The Impact of Hearing Loss on Mobility
When you venture out into the world with untreated hearing loss you are putting yourself into a slew of dangerous situations in which you will have less reaction time to avoid unexpected events and accidents. Our hearing not only helps us follow conversations but helps us stay alert and aware of our surroundings. It achieves this using what is known as sound localization. This allows us to determine the general proximity and approaching speed of sounds in our world. When untreated, hearing loss may cause us to miss fire alarms, bells at railroad crossings, storm warnings, car horns, doorbells, or a ringing phone.
Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids
While hearing loss is a permanent condition the good news is that it can be effectively treated using hearing aids. Hearing aids can be programmed based on your latest hearing exam to amplify the sounds you struggle with, making it easier for you to follow conversations and stay more alert on a regular basis. As you navigate conversations with the people in your life, you may quickly get a sense of more ease in connection. This can lead to more opportunities, a desire to try new things and a chance to truly take advantage of your golden years! The important thing to do is take the first step by scheduling a hearing exam with us today!