Surprising Health Dangers Associated with Hearing Loss and Why You Should Take a Free Hearing Test
Hearing loss affects many individuals as they age, but it also can occur due to injury, a congenital disability or various other conditions.
Many consider impaired hearing to simply be a nuisance. For example, you may have to ask someone to repeat what they said or turn the volume up on your television. However, hearing loss can significantly impact your physical, mental and emotional health.
In fact, hearing loss can increase one’s risk of depression, cognitive decline and falls. This article will discuss how hearing loss can cause these ailments.
Social isolation and depression
A new study confirmed that hearing loss is linked to depression, especially in females and those less than 70 years of age. Compared with 5 percent of individuals without hearing loss who had depression, 11 percent of individuals with hearing impairment were depressed. This association indicates that there may be a cause-effect relationship between depression and hearing troubles.
There are a few reasons why these two conditions may be linked. Those with trouble hearing may find it harder to communicate with others, making it difficult to establish and maintain social relationships. Hearing loss can be isolating in social situations, such as work or events with family and friends.
Like depression, hearing loss is also linked to social isolation and feelings of loneliness. A Dutch study demonstrated that in individuals over the age of 70, every decibel decrease in perception increases an individual’s chance of loneliness by 7 percent. These feelings can also set off a cascade of other health concerns, as feelings of isolation are associated with dementia and premature death.
Studies suggest that hearing loss is associated with mental decline. Likewise, hearing loss can result in conditions involving severe memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Various theories exist explaining why these two may be linked.
The brain strains to input and interpret sound when hearing loss is untreated. This strain causes the brain to overwork, increasing the mental load needed to hear and comprehend sound.
Additionally, the parts of the brain that input and process sound are under-stimulated, causing brain cells to shrink.
Finally, hearing loss can result in social isolation, which can cause cognitive impairment due to a lack of brain stimuli.
Hearing loss can also increase an individual’s fall risk. One study found that those with 25-decibel hearing loss were three times more likely to fall. And, every 10 decibels of hearing loss after that increased the likelihood of falls by 1.4 times.
The higher risk is likely because hearing loss can decrease your situational and spatial awareness, thereby increasing your chances of tripping and falling.
Many people who struggle with hearing loss do not seek treatment with hearing aids. Often this is because of the high costs, stigma or inconvenience surrounding hearing aid use.
However, when you understand the many risks associated with hearing loss, you can see that it is essential to address and treat hearing impairment. This can be done successfully with hearing aids.
Book a free hearing consultation today to find out if hearing aids can keep you safe and improve your quality of life.