(Photo above, Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Audiology)
Long-term untreated hearing loss can have profound physical, mental, and emotional effects for seniors. But there is substantial evidence that taking steps to improve our hearing will go a long way to ensuring that we age well. But it’s important to understand that we aren’t treating hearing loss just to hear with more clarity. Treating hearing loss improves our quality of life, and the longevity of quality living. Treating hearing loss can be a long, sometimes challenging process, but the benefits of better hearing are well worth the effort.
Here are a few of the benefits:
Higher Earning Power. The better we hear at work, the more valuable we become. Research by the Better Hearing Institute found that untreated hearing loss can reduce annual earnings by as much as $30,000. The study also found that correcting hearing loss with hearing aids reduces the risk of lost earnings by more than “90 percent for people with mild hearing loss, and nearly 77 percent for those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.” That’s a powerful incentive for treating hearing loss.
Slower cognitive decline. Several recent studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of developing accelerated cognitive decline, brain atrophy and dementia. And this decline is greatest for those who don’t wear hearing aids to correct the problem. The good news is that wearing hearing aids can help decrease accelerated brain atrophy while increasing hearing ability. This supports the idea that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can slow the decline of thinking and memory problems associated with aging. If you don’t want to improve your hearing ability for money, how about doing it for your mind and memory?
Reduced Tinnitus Symptoms. More than 50 million people in America experience tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing or clicking noise produced by our brain to deal with the lost frequencies of hearing loss. With advances in hearing aid technology, an increasing number of hearing aid manufacturers are now producing hearing aids specifically designed with programs to alleviate tinnitus, so wearing hearing aids to correct hearing loss has an additional benefit of reducing the effects of tinnitus.
Improved Personal Safety. When you treat hearing loss, you also improve your safety. Falling can lead to costly medical bills — not to mention physical discomfort. Even mild hearing loss can influence your ability to hear sounds that would otherwise alert you to dangers, so healthy hearing can have a direct impact on your safety and well-being.
Emotional Well-Being. The emotional benefits of treating hearing loss are huge. Since treating hearing loss can improve your sense of well-being, it can also enhance your ability and desires to connect with your social network. This can help you feel emotionally connected and supported.
This is what treating hearing loss says about you:
1. People with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to deal with issues head-on.
2. You value and maintain strong social relationships, especially with friends
3. You’re not going to let untreated hearing get between you and an active lifestyle.
4. You are more likely to be optimistic and fully engaged in your life.
5. You’re up-to-date on the tremendous advances in hearing aid technology… a real thought leader.
Here’s the bottom line: Hearing loss can make a hot mess of our lives if we neglect it, but the benefits of improved hearing can help us age well.
Josh Korotky, vice president, marketing director, Pacific Northwest Audiology, 2205 NW Shevlin Park Rd., Bend, 541-678-5592, 500+ 5-Star reviews. pnwaudiology.com