Hearing loss is a problem and a major inconvenience. It can make doing everyday tasks more difficult and even interfere with job performance.
A study at the University of British Columbia has found another consequence to hearing loss, however, and this one could prove to be one of the most substantial yet: social isolation.
Study participants between the ages of 60-69 had a 52 percent increase in risk of social isolation for every 10-decibel drop in hearing sensitivity. 10 decibels is approximately the volume of breathing. Additionally, a 10-decibel drop in hearing sensitivity is also correlated with the cognitive decline associated with approximately four years of aging.
Up until now, hearing loss has not been seen as a major health issue in the medical community, but this study may change that. More health care resources may now be allocated to the detection and prevention of hearing damage, especially in older adults.
We know that cognitive decline and social isolation can contribute to earlier mortality rates in the elderly, so linking hearing loss with these risk factors is alarming and will likely result in more time and resources invested in understanding and preventing hearing loss.
Very often, hearing aids can halt or slow the progress of hearing loss, which makes yearly hearing screenings more important than ever: with understanding of your level of hearing loss comes the power to change it and prevent further damage.
Los Gatos Audiology is here to help you protect your hearing and your health. Call today and come in for your yearly hearing exam so you can stay ahead of the curve and protect your hearing, your brain and your health.
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