The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
We love working in the field of audiology, because we know our work truly impacts lives. When you first decide to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids, you are not only making positive changes for your ears and your hearing. You are also making positive changes for your career, personal safety, health and happiness, and your relationships.
It is amazing just how many avenues of one’s life are impacted for the better when they decide to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids. Read more to learn about some of the most exciting benefits of hearing aid use.
Hearing Aids Benefit Our Overall Health
Research has found that people with even the most mild hearing loss are 3 times more likely to experience falls than those without hearing loss (). This risk is greatly reduced for those who wear hearing aids. Hearing aids reduce the risk of falling because they allow wearers to be much more aware of their surroundings and subtle auditory warnings that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Recently, there has been a flood of research that connects hearing loss with an increased risk for developing dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has found that people with mild hearing loss were twice as likely as those without hearing loss to have developed dementia over the course of the study. Those with severe hearing loss were a whopping 5 times as likely to have developed dementia during the decades-long research (). Fortunately, the use of hearing aids has been shown to significantly slow the rate of cognitive decline ().
When hearing loss goes untreated, people tend to unconsciously isolate themselves from friends and family. This can cause feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. When hearing loss is treated, quality of life dramatically improves. In fact, multiple studies have concluded that the use of hearing aids reduces all major depressive symptoms in all areas ().
Hearing Aids Benefit Our Relationships
We all know how important quality communication is for our relationships. Especially those soft “I love you’s” during your favorite part of the play, inside jokes, subtle whispers and pillow talk. These small moments are the ones that truly connect us to those we love; and they are also the ones that can go unnoticed with untreated hearing loss. It is no surprise that people with hearing loss feel disconnected from their loved ones. A survey out of the United Kingdom in 2009 revealed that about 44% or respondents reported their hearing loss had a negative impact on their relationships, and 34% reported the breakdown to be so significant that it lead to the complete loss of the relationship - including divorce (Beattie Group).
Hearing aids have been found to significantly improve relationships. In 2006, international non-profit the Hear-It Foundation conducted a peer review of nearly every published study on the social and economic impact of hearing aids in the United States, Europe and Australia. The astonishing results concluded that of all the many benefits of hearing aids, social relationships were by far the most profoundly positively affected by hearing aid use (Hear It).
Hearing Aids Benefit Our Careers
Of the 48 million Americans who currently live with some degree of hearing loss, it is estimated that about 60% of these are either in the workplace or an educational setting. Leaving hearing loss untreated can have a hugely negative impact on an employee’s productivity, as well as their earning potential. One study published on the US National Library of Medicine database found that people with hearing loss were more than 3 times as likely to have low educational attainment than their peers with normal hearing. People with hearing loss were also about 1.6 times as likely to earn less than $20,000 per year, and almost 2 times as likely to be underemployed or unemployed than the participants with normal hearing (NCBI). Another study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found that those with hearing loss earned as much as $30,000 less per year than those with typical hearing (NVRC).
When hearing loss is treated, however, the achievement gap between those with normal hearing and those with hearing loss becomes dramatically smaller. The same study from the Better Hearing Institute indicated that using hearing aids profoundly reduced the risk of lower income - by an astonishing 90-100% (NVRC).