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It can be difficult to accept a diagnosis of disabling hearing loss, especially later in life. The idea of beginning a new lifestyle and relearning your sense of hearing can be daunting, but when you consider the benefits of your overall health, you can live a happier—and wealthier! —life.
When disabling hearing loss is treated with hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other hearing-assistive devices by an audiologist, people lead happier, healthier, and wealthier lives with a better quality of life overall, a study has found.
People who wear hearing aids tend to earn more than those with hearing loss who do not wear them. It has been found that the differential between the two groups increases with the severity of the hearing loss and that unemployment rates for non-users are twice that of hearing aid users. Considerable evidence points to the fact that people with hearing loss earn significantly less than people with normal hearing.
An extensive scientific report outlines all of this information in “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs” by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield, Brunel University in London with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton, Brunel University, London.
Positive Impact of Hearing Aid Use
Hearing aid users also report that their quality of life has improved and that hearing aids, or other hearing solutions like cochlear implants, have had a positive effect on their overall health. They report experiencing less physical and mental exhaustion, better sleep, better memory, and less depression than non-users.
We may not immediately think about the role of the brain in our hearing ability, but it’s integral to not only hearing, but also comprehension and speech. The inner ear has hair cells that are responsible for converting the noise gathered by the outer ear into electrical signals, which travel along an auditory nerve to the brain. Every one of the hair cells is responsible for converting a pitch or frequency. They are also irreparable if they become damaged or die, so the brain must work harder to process information it is receiving due to the loss of that function. Hearing aids can prevent the mental fatigue that comes with untreated hearing loss.
The Cost of Untreated Hearing Loss
According to the Shield and Atherton Report, there is also considerable evidence that people with untreated hearing loss earn significantly less, on average, than those with normal hearing. They often hold fewer demanding jobs or retire earlier than people with normal hearing. People with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to be experience higher unemployment rates, too.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to a loss of productivity, economic losses due to a poorer quality of life, and a strain on social benefits like unemployment and pensions. Increased health care costs are another result as comorbidities associated with untreated hearing loss, such as cognitive decline and depression, necessitate more frequent hospital visits.
Untreated hearing loss can have a profound effect on your quality of life, too. The greater the severity of hearing loss, the greater the loss in quality of life you are likely to experience. The report shows the correlation between the two and also demonstrates that hearing loss has more of an impact on quality of life than many other chronic conditions, such as blindness and other vision impairments, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
There are a host of negative physical, mental, and social implications that can accompany untreated hearing loss. It can lead to social isolation and loneliness, which can in turn lead to depression. It can also have various effects on family and personal relationships: strained conversations, impatience and frustration with repetition, eventual withdrawal. Untreated hearing loss can also influence your physical health and well-being and reduce physical activity. These indicators all suggest that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to have other chronic medical conditions than people with normal hearing.
Better Hearing Center
Treating your disabling hearing loss is beneficial in a variety of ways. Being fitted for hearing aids or other hearing-assistive devices by an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist can allow you continued success in your career and afford you a healthy social life, too.
When you take the steps to care for your hearing health, you can see the positive results all around you: enriching conversations with friends and family, fulfilling social interactions, more peace of mind. An ongoing relationship with our team at Better Hearing Center can ensure that your hearing aids are fitted to your needs over time and they act as a resource should you need anything. Schedule an appointment with us at Better Hearing Center today to begin living your happiest and healthiest life