How important is it that we have our hearing tested? According to the national average, people wait an average of seven years to attend to their hearing well-being. That means there are plenty of people out there who are procrastinating on treating their hearing loss.

According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk of hearing loss and benefit the most from early treatment.Hearing loss can occur gradually or dramatically, and unexpectedly. The risk of hearing loss is that we overlook the consequences until damage has been done and that damage tends to be irreversible. This is exacerbated by the fact that the only hope we have of reversing or reducing the consequences of hearing loss is to identify it as early as possible.

In the meantime, untreated hearing loss could lead to several conditions, as detailed below.

An increase in falls

One of every five falls among older adults results in serious injury. The number of deaths from accidental falls among adults over the age of 65 has steadily risen since 2005. When one's hearing is impaired, it can lead to balance issues, resulting in an increased propensity to fall.

According to a study conducted by John Hopkins University, people with even moderate hearing loss are three times more likely than their peers without hearing loss to have a history of falls. Getting your hearing checked to help avoid accidental falls and injuries.

More social isolation and depression.

It's easy to see how hearing loss may be linked to depression. For starters, untreated hearing loss could cause individuals to have a more challenging time communicating, contributing to social isolation.

There have also been numerous peer-reviewed studies linking hearing loss and depression across multiple continents. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 11 percent of individuals with untreated hearing loss have depression, compared to just 5% of the general population. "We found a substantial correlation between hearing impairment and moderate to extreme depression," said Dr. Chuan-Ming Li, NIDCD researcher, and study author. This research is not unique; others have shown that people with untreated hearing loss are much more likely to suffer from depression.

Dementia can result from avoiding hearing tests.

As if the increased risk of falls and depression weren't bad enough, untreated hearing loss has also been related to a higher risk of dementia.

Dr. Frank Lin is a well-known expert in the area of dementia and hearing loss. In 2011, he led a 12- to 18-year study that discovered that the more serious a person's hearing loss was, the higher chance they have of getting dementia – people with mild hearing loss had three times the chance of developing dementia than those with normal hearing. Lin and his colleagues published a report in 2013 that found that people with hearing loss had a faster rate of mental deterioration.

Benefits of early treatment

Early treatment of hearing loss has several advantages.

  • Better earning potential: Hearing aids facilitate communication, resulting in a better understanding of others in meetings and among coworkers. Hearing aids boost your cognitive ability, which means you'll do better at work, with better memory and efficiency.
  • Improved interpersonal relationships: Treating hearing loss strengthens our most critical relationships by opening up channels of direct contact.
  • Stronger cognitive ability: Using hearing aids to treat hearing loss reduces our brains' burden, helping us use our cognitive abilities more effectively and reduce our risk of developing dementia.
  • More physical independence and confidence: Our sense of hearing allows us to stay in touch with the world around us. People with hearing loss may be unable to hear fire alarms, train crossing bells, storm warnings, car horns, doorbells, or a ringing phone, depending on their hearing loss level. We are more likely to heed these warnings and remain healthy if we use hearing aids to treat hearing loss. Furthermore, with a hearing aid, people gain the ability to navigate their surroundings without help, enabling them to feel more independent.

The time has come to treat your hearing loss, and we're on hand to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment.