Hearing impairment is hazardously sneaky. It creeps up on an individual through the years so gradually you hardly notice, making it all too easy to deny it’s even there. And afterwards, when you at last acknowledge the symptoms, you shrug it off as troublesome and aggravating due to the fact that its true effects are hidden.
For as much as 48 million Us citizens that report some measure of hearing loss, the repercussions are far greater than simply irritation and frustration.1 listed here are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is much more dangerous than you might believe:
1. Connection to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A study from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging indicates that those with hearing loss are appreciably more susceptible to suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, when compared with individuals who retain their hearing.2
Even though the cause for the association is ultimately undetermined, experts think that hearing loss and dementia could share a common pathology, or that numerous years of straining the brain to hear could create harm. A different theory is that hearing loss often times causes social seclusion — a top risk factor for dementia.
No matter what the cause, recovering hearing might be the best prevention, including the use of hearing aids.
2. Depression and social isolation
Investigators from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, have uncovered a strong connection between hearing damage and depression among U.S. adults of all ages and races.3
3. Not hearing alerts to danger
Car horns, ambulance and police sirens, and fire alarms all are engineered to warn you to possible hazards. If you miss out on these indicators, you put yourself at an elevated risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Research studies indicate that adults with hearing loss have a 40% higher rate of decline in cognitive function when compared to people with regular hearing.4 The top author of the investigation, Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, stated that “going forward for the next 30 or 40 years that from a public health perspective, there’s nothing more important than cognitive decline and dementia as the population ages.” that is why raising awareness as to the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s top priority.
5. Lowered household income
In a survey of over 40,000 households performed by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was revealed to adversely affect household income by as much as $12,000 annually, dependent on the degree of hearing loss.5 individuals who wore hearing aids, however, decreased this impact by 50%.
The ability to communicate on the job is critical to job performance and promotion. The fact is, communication skills are time and again ranked as the top job-related skill-set desired by employers and the leading factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
When considering the human body, “use it or lose it” is a saying to live by. For example, if we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy or shrink over the years, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through exercise and repeated use that we can recover our physical strength.
The same phenomenon applies to hearing: as our hearing deteriorates, we get stuck in a descending spiral that only gets worse. This is called as auditory deprivation, and a fast growing body of research is strengthening the “hearing atrophy” that can manifest with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
Although the most common cause of hearing loss is connected to age and habitual exposure to loud noise, hearing loss is on occasion the symptom of a more serious, underlying medical condition. Possible ailments include:
- Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Otosclerosis – the solidifying of the middle ear bones
- Ménière’s disease – a disease of the inner ear affecting hearing and balance
- Traumatic injuries
- Infections, earwax buildup, or blockages from foreign objects
- Medications – there are more than 200 medications and chemicals that are known to cause hearing and balance issues
On account of the severity of some of the ailments, it is necessary that any hearing loss is immediately examined.
8. Higher risk of falls
Research has revealed a wide variety of connections between hearing loss and dangerous conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. An additional study carried out by scientists at Johns Hopkins University has discovered still another disheartening link: the connection between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The research shows that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, categorized as mild, were nearly three times more likely to have a record of falling. And for every added 10-decibels of hearing loss, the probability of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The encouraging part to all of this negative research is the suggestion that protecting or restoring your hearing can help to minimize or eliminate these risks entirely. For those of you that have normal hearing, it is more important than ever to look after it. And for everyone suffering with hearing loss, it’s crucial to seek the services of a hearing specialist immediately.