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

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

The following are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on important conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary 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 revealed that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social as compared to people who used hearing aids.

Hearing loss can contribute to impaired relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have considerable emotional effects.

3. Intellectual decline

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

The rate of decline depends on the intensity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed drastic impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.

4. Listening fatigue

Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss describe higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, particularly immediately after lengthy 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 adversely affected yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly associated with the amount of hearing loss.

The results make sense. Hearing loss can bring on communication problems and mistakes on the job, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.

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 have a history of falling.

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

The reality is hearing loss is not just a trivial inconvenience—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social consequences that can dramatically reduce an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.

Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the product of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can provide you with the amplification necessary to avert most or all of these consequences.

That’s why the majority of patients are pleased with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It makes it possible for them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without continually struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for years.

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