Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition facing Americans today.
Nearly 40 million adults over the age of 18 years old reported having trouble hearing. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know that you have hearing loss or suspect that you might.
Most hearing loss happens subtly over the course of many years as we age. It is so gradual in fact, that some people learn to adapt to their hearing impairment without even realizing that they are doing so.
There are a number of factors that lead to hearing loss, some are easily avoidable and some are not. Even though the reasons for diminished hearing may vary the results are quite often the same.
If left untreated, hearing loss can negatively affect nearly every aspect of your daily life. However, the payoffs of treating your hearing loss can be monumental.
The financial payoff of treating your hearing loss
Taking the time to treat hearing loss can greatly improve professional prospects and lead to increased income. Studies have shown that people with untreated hearing loss earn considerably less than people with regular hearing and are twice as likely to be unemployed. While people who use hearing aids earn more than people who do not use hearing aids.
Being able to keep up in fast-paced work environments requires more effort and concentration with hearing loss. That extra effort can lead to decreased attention and decreased productivity. Lack of productivity is often cited as a reason for the wage gap between hearing workers and those with untreated hearing loss.
Living with untreated hearing impairment can mean making lots of communication shifts and accommodations. It is not always possible or easy to make those adjustments in work environments. For instance, you might not always be in a situation where you can turn up the volume on someone’s presentation or ask for other people to repeat themselves in a meeting, or read lips over a conference call.
Treating hearing loss can decrease miscommunication and lead to increased confidence in the workplace.
The social payoff of treating your hearing loss
It can take a person an average of 7 years before treating their hearing loss, for some it can even take as many as 15 years. In the meantime, people make adjustments to accommodate their hearing impairments. Those adjustments can be as simple as playing music louder than usual, frequently asking others to repeat themselves, or even relying on reading lips to understand conversations.
One of the most common problems people with hearing loss experience is difficulty in discerning sounds in the context of loud social environments. Social interactions can be draining and unfulfilling when struggling to hear. As a result, some people end up stepping away from social activities which can lead to feelings of isolation.
Being able to hear is essential to communication. Small miscommunications can lead to large disagreements. Hearing loss can take a toll on the whole family leaving them feeling frustrated, sad, and even angry.
Treating hearing loss can lead to increased intimacy with partners, can help ease strained relationships, and help maintain and nurture family bonds.
The mental payoff of treating your hearing loss
Untreated hearing loss has been known to cause stress, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and even increased heart rates. Untreated hearing loss can lead to diminished balance and increase your chance of falls and accidents. All of these things can lead to depression and isolation.
Leaving hearing loss untreated can lead to cognitive decline and make you more susceptible to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that the human brain forgets sounds when they are not heard. The human brain relies on the stimulus received from positive social interactions.
Investing in your hearing health can lead to improvements across all aspects of your life. You may find yourself to be more socially active, less worried and anxious, and more joyful. Even your friends and family may notice a difference once you treat your hearing loss.
The earlier you can address your hearing loss the better. Don’t wait any longer to take control and start investing in your hearing health. Call a hearing healthcare professional to schedule a check-up today.