Hearing damage is dangerously sneaky. It creeps up on a person over the years so little by little you barely notice, making it easy to deny or ignore. And then, when you finally recognize the signs and symptoms, you shrug it off as troublesome and aggravating due to the fact that its worst type of consequences are hidden.
For around 48 million Us citizens that say they experience some level of hearing loss, the effects are significantly greater than merely annoyance and frustration.1 The Following Are 8 reasons why untreated hearing loss is significantly more dangerous than you may think:
1. Link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
An investigation from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging suggests that those with hearing loss are appreciably more liable to suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, when compared with those who maintain their hearing.2
Even though the cause for the link is ultimately undetermined, scientists suspect that hearing loss and dementia might share a common pathology, or that years and years of stressing the brain to hear could result in damage. An additional theory is that hearing loss very often results in social isolation — a leading risk factor for dementia.
Regardless of the cause, recovering hearing may very well 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
Automobile horns, ambulance and law enforcement sirens, and fire alarms all are formulated to alert you to potential dangers. If you miss these types of indicators, you place yourself at an heightened risk of injury.
4. Memory impairment and mental decline
Investigations reveal that adults with hearing loss endure a 40% larger rate of decrease in cognitive performance in contrast to people with healthy hearing.4 The top author of the study, 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 the reason why increasing awareness as to the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is Dr. Lin’s top priority.
5. Lower household income
In a review of over 40,000 households performed by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss was discovered to adversely influence household income up to $12,000 annually, based on the level of hearing loss.5 individuals who used hearing aids, however, minimized this impact by 50%.
The capacity to communicate at the job is essential to job performance and promotion. In fact, communication skills are time after time ranked as the number one job-related skill-set most wished for by managers and the top factor for promotion.
6. Auditory deprivation – use it or lose it
When it comes to the human body, “use it or lose it” is a slogan to live by. As an example, if we don’t make use of our muscles, they atrophy or shrink over time, and we end up losing strength. It’s only through physical activity and repeated use that we can reclaim our physical strength.
The same phenomenon applies to hearing: as our hearing degrades, we get trapped in a downward spiral that only gets worse. This is referred to as auditory deprivation, and a multiplying body of research is confirming the “hearing atrophy” that can appear with hearing loss.
7. Underlying medical conditions
Despite the fact that the most common cause of hearing loss is associated with age and persistent direct exposure to loud sound, hearing loss is occasionally the symptom of a more severe, underlying medical condition. Potential ailments include:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Otosclerosis – the solidifying of the middle ear bones
- Ménière’s disease – a disorder 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 problems
Because of the seriousness of some of the conditions, it is recommended that any hearing loss is promptly evaluated.
8. Increased risk of falls
Research has discovered multitude of connections between hearing loss and serious ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety. A further study carried out by investigators at Johns Hopkins University has revealed yet another disheartening connection: the link between hearing loss and the risk of falls.6
The research reveals that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss, labeled as mild, were nearly three times more likely to have a track record of falling. And for every additional 10-decibels of hearing loss, the likelihood of falling increased by 1.4 times.
Don’t wait to get your hearing tested
The positive part to all of this pessimistic research is the suggestion that retaining or recovering your hearing can help to limit or eliminate these risks completely. For the people that currently have normal hearing, it is more critical than ever to look after it. And for everyone struggling with hearing loss, it’s vital to seek the help of a hearing specialist right away.
- Hearing Loss Association of America: Basic Facts About Hearing Loss
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss and Dementia Linked in Study
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: NIDCD Researchers Find Strong Link between Hearing Loss and Depression in Adults
- Medscape: Hearing Loss Linked to Cognitive Decline, Impairment
- Better Hearing Institute: The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling