Top Risk Factors That May Come Along With Untreated Hearing Loss
Identifying and treating hearing loss early brings many benefits. From enhancing your quality of life to helping protect against several health consequences linked to unaddressed hearing loss, the case for early treatment is strong. However, some people with hearing loss delay a decision to get hearing help because they are unaware of the fact that receiving early treatment for hearing loss has the potential to literally transform their lives.
Why it’s so important to treat Hearing Loss early?
Research shows that many people with hearing loss, who use hearing aids, notice an improvement in their hearing ability and in their ability to communicate effectively at work and in their social lives. Many say that they feel better about their life overall.
To know more why it’s so important to treat hearing loss sooner rather than later, consider these latest research findings and risk factors that come along with untreated hearing loss:
Risk of Dementia
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, the seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Moreover, several researches indicate that the longer you wait to seek hearing loss treatment, the more likely it is your brain will forget how to interpret sound and you may be more at risk for developing dementia.
Risk of Brain Shrinkage
Results of a study at Johns Hopkins found that although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss. It’s been found that people with poorer hearing had less gray matter in the auditory cortex, a region of the brain that is necessary to support speech comprehension.
Risk of Falling
Again, a study at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine showed that people in middle age with even just mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. However, what was most surprising was that the researchers determined that even a mild degree of hearing loss tripled the risk of an accidental fall, with the risk increasing by 140 percent for every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss.
The study also found that older adults with hearing loss were 32% more likely to have been admitted to a hospital than their peers with normal hearing. It’s been also found that older adults with hearing loss were 36 % more likely to have prolonged stretches of illness or injury, lasting for more than 10 days.
Several studies have found a link between depression and hearing loss. A Johns Hopkins study found that older adults with hearing loss were 57% more likely to have deep episodes of stress, depression or bad mood than their peers with normal hearing. Another study showed that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds.
So to help protect your hearing, get a thorough hearing exam every year and watch for the signs of hearing loss. If you’ve never had your hearing check, find a hearing care professional and establish a baseline check today!