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Untreated Hearing Loss Can Prove Disastrous for Seniors

by April Maguire

Imagine gradually losing your eyesight and allowing it to go untreated until you were nearly blind. It sounds ridiculous, right? But that’s exactly how a lot of people, especially seniors, deal with their hearing loss. To be fair, hearing loss often comes on so gradually that oftentimes sufferers don't realize it's happening. Still, the facts show that difficulty hearing is a widespread and dangerous problem. By the age of 70, roughly 25% of people suffer from some level of hearing loss. By the time they reach 80 years old, that number jumps up to more than 50%. And by the time someone is 90, there is more than an 80% chance that they have noticeable hearing loss.

If those statistics aren't shocking enough, consider this one. Despite the prevalence of hearing loss among the senior population, less than 30% of them seek treatment. So why aren't hearing loss sufferers doing more to treat their condition?

Difficulties in Treating Hearing Loss

Even though hearing loss is poised to rise to the level of a worldwide health crisis in the next decade, it is still incredibly difficult to receive treatment. In the United States, most insurers don't cover costs associated with hearing-related issues. This means that patients are out-of-pocket for assistive devices, such as hearing aids, which typically run more than $4,500 when all is said and done.

Even government insurance through Medicare, which the majority of seniors use, doesn't routinely cover hearing services. Currently, some Medicare Advantage plans will pay for a small number of hearing-related tests, and some of these plans will pay out for hearing aids. Similarly, hearing devices and tests are covered under some Medicaid plans, but the degree to which the plans will pay out for these services varies widely from state to state.

The Downside of Not Receiving Treatment

Despite these hurdles, it is imperative for seniors, or anyone with hearing loss, to undergo corrective treatment. Study after study shows that individuals who are hard of hearing tend to withdraw from social activities and are prone to isolation. Subsequently, these people are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety. Moreover, deafness has been linked to a number of cognitive disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer's.

The good news, however, is that the rate of hearing loss can be slowed, sometimes dramatically, if proper corrective action is taken. So if you or a loved one is experiencing a decreased hearing ability, then contact a certified audiologist in your area. An audiologist will not only be able to accurately test your hearing ability, but he or she will also be able to recommend a necessary course of treatment.

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!

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