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How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Quality of Life?

There are many reasons for hearing loss. For example, when we age, we may gradually experience declines in our hearing ability. Since it is slow and gradual when the loss is due to the typical effects of aging, we may not notice it for a while. 

Other reasons for hearing loss can include injuries, excessive noise exposure, shingles, and diabetes. Meningitis, viral infections and acoustic tumors cause hearing loss. Autoimmune diseases, obesity, smoking and hypertension can also be reasons that your hearing abilities decline. 

Luckily, with many types of hearing loss and for the root causes, there are treatment options available. Sometimes, these treatments might be medications that can reduce inflammation and swelling. In other cases, you might use a device like an amplifier to help yourself hear better, especially if your hearing loss is mild.

With more significant hearing loss, hearing aids can help. 

People are reluctant to go to the doctor about their hearing loss, however. They might be in denial, embarrassed or worried about what it will look like to wear an amplifier or hearing aid. 

It’s crucial that if you notice hearing loss, or even if you think you might be experiencing it, that you go to your doctor sooner rather than later. 

Untreated hearing loss can have big effects on your quality of life and even your cognitive and brain health, including the following. 

Reduced Earnings

If you work, the lifetime earnings for people with untreated hearing loss are estimated to be 50 to 70% lower than peers without hearing loss. This is due to many factors, including decreased overall earning power, reduced job performance, and fewer opportunities for advancement and promotions. 

If you can’t hear at work, it’s difficult for you to perform at a peak level. Your engagement may also be lower because of the impairment, but that could be attributed to other factors that would make your boss think twice about moving you up in the company.

Relationships

When you can’t hear, it can put a significant strain on your relationships, including with your partner or spouse. You must be able to communicate with one another, and when you can’t hear, it puts a strain on that. 

Specific ways that hearing loss can affect you socially and in relationships include inattentiveness and loss of intimacy, as well as contributing to isolation and withdrawal. You may come off as distracted when you’re interacting with the people you care about, or you could frustrate other people by pretending you heard them when you didn’t. 

Overall when people have impaired hearing function, they tend to have reduced social activity. Reduced social activity, especially as you age, is linked with several adverse mental and physical health outcomes. 

Staying socially connected and having a support network is critical for well-being. 

When you do something to help your hearing, you’ll be better able to participate in family dinners or group conversations, and you can enjoy yourself more without worrying or feeling self-conscious. 

Brain Health

There are a lot of intricate relationships between our brains and our hearing. Some of these doctors are just starting to learn more about. 

Brain scans, for example, show that hearing loss can lead to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain. As mentioned, hearing loss also leads to less social interaction and fewer conversations you’re willing to engage in. These are factors that contribute to cognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia. 

People with hearing problems tend to have depression or anxiety, and these mental conditions affect brain function and lead to a faster decline in cognitive ability compared to someone with normal hearing abilities. 

You may develop low self-esteem or experience ongoing worry or frustration when you can’t hear, too. 

Fall Risks

When you have a hard time hearing, your ears can’t pick up those cues that help you balance. When you lose hearing, your brain also has to work harder to process sound. You’re constantly multitasking without realizing it, which impacts the mental processing you need to walk. These effects increase your fall risk. 

Research shows that when you have hearing loss, you have three times the risk of falling, leading to serious injuries. 

Luckily, again, great options can help you hear better and live a better life. Many of the old misconceptions about hearing aids no longer hold true, so you should speak to a doctor sooner rather than later about the situation.

One thought on “How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Quality of Life?

  1. Huh, what did you say

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