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The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to overlook. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your phone or TV and requiring people to repeat themselves.

But apart from the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.

Below are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on vital conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continue to fade as your personal world of sound narrows.

2. Anxiety and depression

A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social as compared to those who used hearing aids.

Hearing loss can result in impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have significant psychological effects.

3. Intellectual decline

Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss encountered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than individuals with normal hearing.

The rate of decline is dependent upon the degree of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.

4. Listening fatigue

Listening requires effort, and when you struggle to hear specific words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra effort is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially following prolonged conferences or group activities.

5. Diminished work performance

The Better Hearing Institute discovered that, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively impacted yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly related to the amount of hearing loss.

The findings make sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the marketplace.

6. Safety concerns

Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other alerts to potentially unsafe conditions. They’re also more likely to experience falls.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were just about three times more likely to have a history of falling and the chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.

The reality is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social side effects that can significantly reduce an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.

Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the outcome of diminished sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can deliver the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.

That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It enables them to easily understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for years.

Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.