How Hearing Loss Can Affect Us

New research recently released by multiple outlets such as CBS News, Forbes, Science Daily, Consumer Reports, Market Watch, and many more, are reporting the benefits of hearing aids and being fit as soon as possible. Properly treated hearing loss can lower your risk of things such as falls, depression, cognitive decline, memory issues, anxiety, and provide you with an overall better quality of life. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports: “People age 66 and older who got a hearing aid shortly after being diagnosed with hearing loss were less likely to receive a first-time diagnosis of dementia or depression, or be injured by a fall, in the following three years.” The research is in, and the results are overwhelming; treating hearing loss will help you in more ways than just treating hearing loss. Please read the following links to get more information and feel informed about the impacts hearing loss can have on your life.

 

Article by Science Daily

In the Article by Science Daily the main points we felt important were that older adults who get a hearing aid for a newly diagnosed hearing loss have a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, depression or anxiety for the first time over the next three years, and a lower risk of suffering fall-related injuries, than those who leave their hearing loss untreated.
Though hearing aids can’t be said to prevent these conditions, a delay in the onset of dementia, depression, and anxiety, and the risk of serious falls, could be significant. People with hearing loss had much higher rates of dementia, depression and fall injuries than the general population.

 

Article by CBS News

Found in the article by CBS News, many health conditions and behaviors affect the odds of developing dementia, and research suggests that a third of cases are preventable. These include getting enough exercise, treating other health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; having an active social life, and avoiding or curbing harmful habits such as smoking, overeating, and drinking too much alcohol. Hearing aids also may not reduce dementia risk, but older people should be screened for hearing loss and treated accordingly.

 

Article by New York Times

The New York Times details in their article, that the sooner you get help for your hearing impairment, the easier it will be for your brain to use the auditory pathways it’s developed for processing sound. Rates of cognitive decline and the risk for incident cognitive impairment were linearly associated with the severity of an individual’s baseline hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can have physical consequences as well, including excessive fatigue, stress and headaches, which may result from trying so hard to hear and understand spoken language. One study found that moderate to severe hearing loss was associated with a 54 percent increased risk of death, and mild hearing loss with a 27 percent increased risk of death, compared with individuals with normal hearing. Working people with poor hearing are more likely to earn less than those with good hearing. Untreated hearing loss adversely affected productivity, performance and career success, and was associated with a loss in annual income that could reach $30,000. Those in the study with severe hearing loss were twice as likely to be unemployed as people with normal hearing and nearly twice as likely to be out of work as their peers who used hearing aids.

In the Article by Forbes it is discussed that if left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and mental and physical decline. The downstream effects of such early intervention could include improved quality of life for patients and lower healthcare costs due to the prevention or delay of chronic conditions and injurious falls. About one third of people over age 65 develop hearing loss. Incidence is expected to rise as the population ages.

Consumer Reports wrote an article that discusses that cognitive decline is much higher among people with hearing loss. Age related hearing loss was linked to an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline and impairment. The use of hearing aids is linked with a lower risk of dementia. That doesn’t mean aids can prevent dementia or even reduce risks.

In the article by Market watch it is state that people who get hearing aids have an 18% lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, within three years of their hearing loss diagnosis. The risk of a depression diagnosis was 11% lower and the risk of being injured in a fall was 13% lower. People wait an average of 10 years to address their hearing loss.