Serving Patients in Maryland and Delaware
The Potentially Serious Consequences of Hearing Loss
Acknowledging a Hearing Loss Problem
Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don’t want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can “get by” without using a hearing aid. And, unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, to address the effects of hearing loss before getting treatment.
But time and again, research demonstrates the considerable effects of hearing loss on development as well as negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. Each can have far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to:
- Irritability, negativism and anger
- Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
- Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- Social rejection and loneliness
- Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
- Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
- Reduced job performance and earning power
- Diminished psychological and overall health
Hearing loss is not just an ailment of old age
It can strike at any time and any age, even childhood. For the young, even a mild or moderate case of hearing loss could bring difficulty learning, developing speech and building the important interpersonal skills necessary to foster self-esteem and succeed in school and life.
At Sound Advice Hearing Aid Centers, our mission is to help educate the public about hearing loss and promote the importance of prevention and treatment. If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don’t delay another day. Visit a hearing healthcare professional and take the first step toward a world of better hearing. To learn more about how we can help you at Sound Advice Hearing Aid Centers please call us at 888-262-2613 or visit us at www.sahac.com.
Hearing Loss and Dementia
Facts we should know…
Greater emphasis is being placed on hearing health in 2014. As mature adults, we should routinely remind ourselves to have our hearing checked. It is important to be aware of the risks, if we ignore hearing loss – dangers that include certain life-threatening comorbidities.
“Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing … Our findings emphasize just how important it is for physicians to discuss hearing with their patients and to be proactive in addressing any hearing declines over time.”
The link between untreated hearing loss and development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Multiple studies indicate hearing loss can be linked to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Leaving hearing loss untreated could pose a serious risk that has not been widely shared with the hearing impaired population. Providing this information will encourage patients and their loved ones to make more informed and timely decisions about their hearing care.
A Study Correlating Hearing Loss and Dementia
Frank R. Lin, MD, Ph.D conducted a study commonly cited by medical professionals on the topic of hearing loss and cognitive decline. The study observed 1,984 adults with a mean age of 77.4 years over the course of six years, tracking the progression of their hearing loss in relation to their cognitive function.
Dr. Lin concluded that while further research was needed to identify the mechanics of how and why hearing loss and cognitive decline are related, there is little doubt that hearing loss is a factor in loss of mental acuity in older adults. The study also indicated that the more severe the hearing loss, the greater the likelihood of developing a cognitive disorder, and the steeper the decline in mental function.
However, even subjects with mild hearing loss were found more likely to experience cognitive failures. “Declines in hearing abilities may accelerate gray matter atrophy and increase the listening effort necessary to comprehend speech … Hearing aids may not only improve hearing but preserve the brain.”
At the time the initial study results were released, Dr. Lin and other experts put forth several theories as to why hearing loss may lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease:
- The effort it takes those with hearing loss to hear and comprehend creates a regular strain that interferes with normal cognition
- Hearing impaired people tend to withdraw socially and the lack of regular interaction leads to mental stagnation
- A combination of all these factors contributes to cognitive declineHearing Health PDF