Do you know what the hardest part of hearing loss is? For a majority of the sufferers, it's overcoming the negative stigmas of the disease and actually admitting that they need help. In fact, the numbers are somewhat shocking. While more than 60% of people in their 70s suffer from hearing loss, only about 15% seek treatment. The rest tend to ignore the issue and simply try to cope with it, which can lead to a wide array of issues.
The Trouble with Tinnitus
One of the early symptoms of hearing loss is chronic tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, and this condition has been linked to a number of problems. First and foremost, tinnitus negatively impacts your hearing ability, causing you to miss out on auditory information from the world around you. And if that's not bad enough, tinnitus can also cause psychological problems. Recent research suggests that people with chronic tinnitus tend to suffer from higher levels of anxiety, which can negatively impact virtually every facet of a person's life.
Hearing Loss and Mental Decline
Unfortunately, tinnitus isn't the only part of hearing loss that can cause cognitive issues. According to researchers, untreated hearing loss is capable of accelerating mental decline in people with dementia by a staggering 40%. One possible explanation for this connection is that without auditory stimuli, certain portions of the brain tend to shut down due to inactivity. Alternatively, it's also possible that the memory centers of the brain stop working in order to allocate more resources to the hearing centers, which are having to work overtime to try to process diminished, garbled auditory input.
Whatever the cause, the connection between hearing loss and mental decline has been firmly established. Not only that, but people who are hard of hearing also tend to withdraw socially, opting to avoid social gatherings or even leave their rooms. This withdraw only exacerbates the cognitive deterioration, compounding the problem, and leads to depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation.
In light of this evidence, the solution is clear. When it comes to hearing loss, early intervention is key. Not only will hearing assistive devices, such as hearing aids, allow you to retain more of your natural hearing ability, but it will also help you hold on to your mental faculties. Sure, hearing aids may not be the most stylish fashion choice, but they certainly beat the alternative of suffering through the side effects of untreated hearing loss.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!