The old adage goes, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” but bedtime isn’t the only factor contributing to our health and quality of life. Studies are finding that using hearing aids offers similar benefits to your well-being. Research has shown that people who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids earn more, are physically healthier and have a better quality of life than those living with untreated hearing loss.
How can so much hinge on your hearing? Your hearing health is tied into almost every aspect of your life in how it helps you communicate and navigate in the world. Your hearing health is also dependent on other aspects of your health, and when your hearing suffers it can exacerbate other health conditions. Finally, untreated hearing loss can have a negative effect on your professional life, including your ability to maximize your earnings. While most hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids can help you minimize the changes it causes in your life and minimize the negative effects of hearing impairment.
Hearing Loss and Quality of Life
Living with unaddressed hearing loss is highly likely to change your quality of life. Hearing loss makes it harder to communicate and connect with others, making social contact more difficult. Hearing loss also makes it harder to navigate spaces, posing potential challenges to mobility. In fact, hearing loss that is left untreated increases risk of anxiety, depression and social isolation.
At the root of hearing loss’ connection to depression is difficulty communicating. Meaningful conversation and exchange with others are essential to our sense of worth and wellbeing. When hearing loss troubles our ability to understand what others say and limits our ability to feel understood, communication can become an uphill battle, and sets the stage for feelings of depression.
The stresses of hearing loss attack our quality of life in similar ways. Unaddressed hearing loss creates mental strain and frustration. Once simple tasks can become more challenging when hearing loss is present, and these struggles can produce anxiety. Rates of anxiety are elevated in people with untreated hearing loss.
Isolation is another major quality of life issue linked to hearing loss. As hearing loss strains our social behavior, it can provoke isolating behavior patterns that restrict mobility and social contact. Although they can exist independent of each other, isolation, anxiety and depression can also arise as interrelated conditions that reinforce damage to our quality of life.
Hearing Loss and Physical Health
Untreated hearing loss is also associated with physical health conditions. When treatment for hearing issues is not pursued, the risk of physical health issues increases. Most notably, hearing loss can cause cognitive strain which is directly linked to falling accidents and dementia.
Hearing loss makes it harder for the brain to process information. When the sound we detect with our ears is compromised, it is left to our mental capability to “fill in the blanks” with the possible meaning. This mental reconstruction of sound and speech requires more time and effort from our cognitive energy. Our brain reorganizes itself and the work it does to prioritize sound processing.
In order to have the resources to compensate for hearing loss, the brain pulls attention away from other tasks. Skills like balance and coordination may not receive enough focus, and the result is an increased rate of falling accidents and injuries.
The brain strain that untreated hearing loss causes has also been linked to worsening dementia. A hallmark of dementia is a profound cognitive decline, which is exacerbated by the mental stresses of hearing loss and trying to comprehend sound at the expense of other cognitive skills.
Hearing Loss and Your Finances
With all the damage unaddressed hearing issues can cause, it is hardly a surprise that it can also take a toll on our earning power. People with untreated hearing loss earn less and are significantly less employed than their counterparts with healthy hearing and those who treat their hearing loss.
The economic toll of untreated hearing loss has multiple aspects. Unaddressed hearing loss has been shown to decrease productivity and is linked to earlier retirement ages. People with untreated hearing loss earn less in both average salary figures and in total earnings over the course of their lifetime. Untreated hearing loss also comes with associated health costs that affect society as a whole.
Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Health in Portland
Fortunately, hearing loss doesn’t have to go untreated. Managing hearing loss with hearing aids helps support your health, quality of life and earning power. Hearing aids relieve cognitive strain and improve communication and comprehension.
If you’ve recently seen a change in your hearing or currently live with hearing issues, it’s time to change your hearing health for the better. Hearing Health can help by connecting you with personalized hearing exams and care and connecting you with solutions that work. Ready to get started? Contact us at Hearing Health today!