Each May, the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) raises awareness on the issues of hearing loss and communication disorders. This year’s theme is “Communication for All,” bringing to light the effects of hearing loss on people of all ages and how communication is adversely affected.
Understanding Hearing Loss
Even though hearing loss is a common condition among older Americans (one in three people, age 65 and older), it takes an average of seven years before people decide to seek treatment. In this time, the loss of hearing may have taken a toll on a person’s health and relationships. Hearing loss is considered an invisible condition because its effects are not physically evident, but the early identification and treatment of hearing loss with a hearing aid brings many palpable benefits to a person’s life.
Treating Hearing Loss Improves Communication
Communication is key in maintaining healthy relationships, with spouses, partners, family members, friends, and colleagues. Most people who experience hearing loss first notice that they have difficulty understanding speech in loud settings. To constantly ask loved ones to repeat themselves may cause friction and frustration. In some cases, the degree of hearing loss makes it difficult for people to hear higher-frequency voices (especially that of women and children). Treating hearing loss opens up these channels of clear communication and drastically improves our most important relationships. Many hearing aids brands offer technology to connect to iPhones, allowing us to stay in touch easily with our loved ones.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Higher earning power
Of the 48 million Americans experiencing hearing loss, there is an estimated 60% in the work force. In an analysis of income levels of people with hearing loss (both treated and untreated) of similar employment, marital status, age, gender, and lifestyle, it was found that “people with moderate to profound hearing loss, who did not use hearing aids, experienced household incomes $5,000 to $6,000 less than their counterparts who did use hearing aids.” Treating hearing loss, regardless of the degree, has benefits for one’s professional life.
Better brain health
Recently, researchers from Johns Hopkins discovered a potential link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. They found that hearing loss leads to less engagement in certain areas of the brain that were once utilized to process and analyze sound, while the struggle to hear and attempt to make sense of sounds created a greater “cognitive load” that tires out the brain. In a separate study conducted in Japan, researchers tracked participants for three years, giving them auditory and cognitive tests, and found that subjects who experienced hearing loss and were fitted for hearing aids early on had higher cognitive abilities than subjects who were not. Hearing happens in the brain, and there are many hearing aids that support brain processes to hear more clearly.
Improved security and independence
Hearing is a sense developed from early human evolution to increase our chances to survive. Depending on the level of hearing loss, people may not be able to hear fire alarms, bells at railroad crossings, storm warnings, car horns, doorbells, or a ringing phone. These instructive and informative sounds keep us safe as we make our way through the hustle and bustle. With a hearing aid, we are more likely to hear these alerts and stay safe. Additionally, with a hearing aid, people are endowed with more confidence to make their way without assistance, allowing for a sense of independence.
Improved overall health:
With a hearing aid, you are less likely to feel isolate socially and more likely to continue pursuing the activities and hobbies that you enjoyed before hearing loss. Treating hearing loss keeps you connected to your friends and the communities of which you are a part. Moreover, because hearing is related to balance, studies have found that treating hearing loss significantly reduces the number of falls. Additionally, there are many hearing aids available today that have wireless options to keep us connected to the world around us. Hearing aids fitted with a tele-coil allow us to loop into hearing systems at public venues and spaces, while many cinemas and theaters offer assisted listening devices to make performances more accessible. Treating hearing loss has an overall positive, healthy impact on your life.
Hearing Health at Home – Mobile Hearing Services
We understand that untreated hearing loss can make you feel vulnerable in frenetic environments. At Hearing Health at Home Mobile Hearing Services, we provide comprehensive hearing exams and hearing aid fittings in the comfort of your own home. Our team will work with you to find the best solution to treat your hearing needs.