Effects of untreated hearing loss
Hearing loss isn’t just an ear issue: it’s a quality of life and health issue. Untreated hearing loss can have serious and wide-ranging consequences. It has been linked to impaired memory, balance issues, and dementia. Growing evidence indicates that older adults with hearing loss are more likely to experience the symptoms of cognitive decline. This is highly concerning to us. As the baby boomer generation reaches age 65, the number of people suffering from dementia is expected to triple.
Further research has found that hearing aids can help! Hearing aids can improve the negative effects of hearing loss on the brain. When you get hearing aids, you’re giving your ears back what they’ve been missing. You are giving your brain what it needs to make sense of what you are hearing. Hearing aids process sound signals so it’s easier for your brain to understand them. They also reduce the cognitive load, making it easier for your brain to perform other tasks.
A Johns Hopkins study found that cognitive diminishment was 41% greater in seniors with hearing loss.
“In a 2011 study focusing on dementia, Lin and his colleagues monitored the cognitive health of 639 people who were mentally sharp when the study began. The researchers tested the volunteers’ mental abilities regularly, following most for about 12 years, and some for as long as 18 years. The results were striking: The worse the initial hearing loss was, the more likely the person was to develop dementia. Compared with people with normal hearing, those with moderate hearing loss had triple the risk.”
It seems very likely that social isolation also plays a part in an increased risk of dementia. Being hard of hearing tends to isolate people from others: When you have to struggle to converse, you’re less likely to want to socialize in groups or go out to restaurants. And being socially isolated has long been recognized as a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia.
Most people wait 7-10 years to address their hearing loss, but by then their hearing loss is worse and has contributed to other health problems i.e.: Dementia, depression, isolation, balance issues & fatigue.