You may have hear the old saying that “Knowing is half the battle,” and that adage couldn’t be more true than when it comes to your hearing and quality of life. Hearing loss affects more than your ability to hear and communicate. Here are six reasons to have your hearing tested sooner rather than later:
- FALLS— Untreated hearing impairment is linked to falling; people with hearing loss are at a greater fall risk. A 2012 study of 2,017 adults ages 40 to 69 led by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers found that those with mild hearing loss were nearly three times as likely to have reported a fall. Our ears play an important role in helping to maintain balance, making it important to identify and address hearing problems early.
- BRAIN HEALTH— Hearing loss can potentially take a toll on the brain, which has to work harder to process the limited sound received. In addition, an ever-growing body of research connects hearing loss to other problems such as faster brain atrophy, earlier onset of major cognitive decline, and up to five times’ higher risk of dementia. With hearing aid use, however, age-related cognitive decline could slow as much as 75%.
- DEPRESSION— Research supports a link between hearing loss and depression. Older adults with hearing loss, for example, have a 57% greater risk of experiencing deep depression than those without it, according to a Johns Hopkins investigation. With hearing aid use, however, the odds of depression may be lower, according to another study.
- FINANCES— Research suggests that there’s also a link between untreated hearing loss and higher medical costs, with older adults paying some 46% more — about $22,434 — than their normal-hearing peers in a 10-year span. That’s from a National Institute of Health study. In addition, annual household earnings can take a hit of as much as $30,000 with a hearing loss, but treatment with hearing aids could reduce that risk by up to 100%.
- CHILD DEVELOPMENT— The impact of hearing loss in children reaches beyond the physical and emotional effects. It also has implications for their academic success, social skills, and development of communication. For example, 25% to 35% of kids with hearing loss, even if only one ear is affected, may risk failing a grade level. Early intervention, which could make a big difference in a child’s quality of life, starts with a hearing test for children.
- RELATIONSHIPS— Adults with hearing loss that isn’t addressed report reduced social engagement, increased emotional stress, and other challenges that can affect their relationships. The good news is that when these adults’ hearing loss is treated with hearing aids, they not only report significant improvements in their social lives and relationships with families and friends, but their loved ones do too, according to research from the National Council on Aging.
Around the world, approximately 466 million children and adults have experienced disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, but only a fraction receive care. Empowerment starts with answers, so don’t wait. Stay atop your hearing health by scheduling a comprehensive hearing evaluation with the caring team at Worth Hearing Center in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.