5 Reasons to See an Audiologist Today
As a society, we collectively procrastinate on scheduling an appointment with an audiologist and taking care of our hearing health. In fact, the average American waits about seven to ten years from the time they first notice changes in their hearing to the time they seek help from a hearing healthcare professional. This is an extremely long time to live with untreated hearing loss! Treating hearing loss has benefits that extend well beyond our ears. Hearing loss treatment has been found to have a positive impact on multiple areas of one’s life, including: relationships, work productivity and earning potential, personal safety, physical health, and overall wellbeing and happiness.
While there are many, many more reasons to visit an audiologist today, we’ve compiled this collection of what we believe are some of the most important reasons.
1) Improve Your Relationships
The average person waits a very long time to seek treatment for their hearing loss, and it is often the encouragement of a loved one that helps clients make that first step. When you live with untreated hearing loss, it can have a profoundly negative impact on your relationships with the people closest to you. Intimate conversations, human connection, and shared experiences are some of the most important aspects of any healthy relationship, and untreated hearing loss can make each one of these difficult or even downright frustrating. It is also very difficult on the people you love. Those closest to you may feel as though you are not listening to them or interested in what they are saying, or may feel lonely and long for communication and connection with you.
Treating hearing loss, however, can work to alleviate all of this stress! Treating hearing loss with hearing aids has a profoundly positive impact on our romantic, social, and familial relationships. With the help of hearing aids, reconnecting with a quiet conversation during a romantic dinner will feel like a pleasure again, rather than an anxiety inducing situation. Holding conversations with co-workers over happy hour will be much easier, and you will be able to enjoy the busy social environments you once loved. Recently, a Hear-The-World Foundation study of hundreds of peer reviewed research from across the world uncovered that by far and away, improvement in social and romantic relationships were the most positively and profoundly improved aspects of one’s life after using hearing aids.
2) Increase Work Productivity and Earning Potential
It is common for people to falsely believe that treating their hearing loss with hearing aids will make them appear “older” and less able in the workplace, however, this has been proven untrue. In fact, a recent study has concluded that people who decide to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are seen by their coworkers as more competent and confident than those with untreated hearing loss. It has also been found that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to be passed up for a promotion than those who treat their hearing loss. Probably most shocking, is the fact that on average, households where at least one income earner experiences untreated hearing loss earn much less per year than their peers with normal hearing or who have chosen to treat their hearing loss.
Recently, the Better Hearing Institute studied 40,000 American households and concluded that people with untreated hearing loss can lose up to $30,000 annually due to their hearing impairments. On average, the households earned about $12,000 less annually than their peers with normal or treated hearing. Luckily, the same study found that treating hearing loss could reduce the risk of income loss by 90-100 percent. (https://nvrc.org/bhi-people-with-untreated-hearing-loss-lose-income-annually/).
3) Get Healthier, Both Emotionally and Cognitively
Did you know that treating hearing loss can help you improve both your emotional and cognitive health? Many people don’t realize that their untreated hearing loss is causing both emotional and mental stress and anguish on their lives.
It is estimated that people with untreated hearing loss are about twice as likely than those with normal hearing to experience symptoms related to depression or anxiety. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids has been found to significantly reduce the risk of these symptoms. Recently, an international study of over 120,000 individuals found that in four out of five surveyed countries, individuals with untreated hearing loss were much more likely to experience major depressive symptoms than those who treated their hearing loss with hearing aids.
Even more shocking is the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline. One of the most cited studies came out of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2011. (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_and_dementia_linked_in_study) This important study uncovered that people with hearing loss were at a much higher risk of developing cognitive decline disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease than those without hearing impairments. To be exact, the study found that those with mild here loss were twice as likely, those with moderate hearing loss were three times as likely, and those with severe hearing loss were five times as likely to have experienced cognitive decline over the course of the study than their peers without hearing loss.
A few years later, the researchers completed a follow-up study on the impact of hearing aid use on cognitive decline. The study concluded that although hearing aid users did still experience some cognitive decline, it was at a significantly slower rate than those with untreated hearing loss. The decrease in cognitive decline began only a few weeks after a participant began using hearing aids (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss_).
4) Improve Your Personal Safety and Awareness
Unfortunately, slips and falls can often cause severe injury and even death. Especially amongst Americans 65 and older, trips and falls should be taken seriously and not laughed off as life little “blunders”. In fact, death from falls among adults 65 and older has increased dramatically from 2007-2016, according to a study conducted by AARP (https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/falling-deaths-surge-for-elderly.html). If this trend continues, the United States can expect 59,000 older Americans to die from falls in the year 2030. This statistic does not include falls that result in serious injury and/or permanent disability.
Luckily, there are steps that older adults can take to reduce their risk of trips and falls. One of these steps is getting your hearing tested and treated. Studies have found that treating hearing loss can reduce the risk of accidental falls and accidents. This makes sense, as the more aware we are of our surroundings, the more we are able to pick up on warning signs that we may be in danger of a tumble.
5) Feel Happier, and Improve Your Overall Quality of Life
On top of these aforementioned benefits, our clients often report how much their hearing aids have improved their overall quality of life and happiness. When you treat your hearing loss and are better able to connect with those you love, have more confidence that you are hearing others at work and at play, it’s understandable why.
If you are ready to start benefitting from improved hearing, we look forward to hearing from you.