Investing in Your Health: Treating Hearing Loss

Investing in Your Health: Treating Hearing Loss
Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Deciding to treat hearing loss is a sure way to increase your enjoyment in the fullness of life, including many things you might not have known you were missing. Take, for example, Mark Hammel, who reported his experience to Jane E. Brody with the New York Times. When he got his hearing aids, it was only after living for about 30 years with compromised hearing. He had suffered hearing loss while serving in the Israeli army, but he did not get his hearing aids until age 57. When he finally got them, on the one hand he was thrilled to experience a wide range of sound and communication that he had been missing. On the other hand, he was devastated to know that he had spent such a significant portion of his life without being able to properly hear. Though he was able to carry on a conversation face-to-face with another person, the sounds of voices in a noisy environment became a total blur. He wasn’t able to hear his granddaughter’s voice in the back seat of the car. Living in the country, he wasn’t even able to hear the birds singing.

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

Mark’s experience is like so many others who take some time to get used to all the new sonic information they encounter once they get hearing aids. It can take some time to get used to those hearing aids and to engage socially when one had become accustomed to checking out. All that engagement can sometimes be exhausting for newcomers to hearing assistance, but the energy it takes to pay attention to others is well worth it.

Treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids is an excellent way to increase the overall quality of life, not to mention the mental health problems associated with social exclusion. Depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions are attendant to social isolation, and many people who have untreated hearing loss would rather avoid social settings that require a struggle to listen, engage, and communicate. Hearing aids make it possible to easily take part in social events and everyday life, as well.

However, psychological and social benefits are not the only health outcomes associated with hearing assistance. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of dementia, which comes as no surprise when someone has been living with such diminished cognitive input for so long. The brain requires stimulus to continue its work of cognition, and not being able to hear depletes the information available to the mind. Another possible explanation of the link is the constant confusion that hearing loss can bring to the communication process. For instance, if a person cannot hear complete words or ideas, it can become a chaotic puzzle of meaning, requiring the brain to fill in the gaps as best it can. This rapid process of guess and check increases the cognitive load in the mind, possibly spilling over to the possibility of dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Believe it or not, hearing loss can even have effects on other dimensions of physical health. One common problem is fatigue and headaches, which most attribute to the exhausting process of trying to understand speech with limited sensory faculties. Physical dangers from accidents can happen due to the inability to hear warning signs like alarms, the sound of oncoming traffic, or other alerts to danger that are out of eyeshot. Those with hearing loss have been reported to have more falls in the home, as well, a correlation that remains to be explained.

Beyond the health costs, there may be a very real financial cost to hearing loss, as well. Working people with hearing loss are likely to earn less than their counterparts who do not have hearing loss, and some people even lose their jobs due to the inability to easily communicate in the workplace. Those with severe hearing loss are more likely to experience unemployment, and they are two times more likely to be out of work than those who use hearing aids. As you can see, hearing loss is associated with a range of other outcomes, but the use of hearing aids can do a lot to bridge the gap, restoring the ease and enjoyment of hearing the world and those we love.

Visit Us at Professional Hearing Services

Have you been experiencing changes in your hearing? Are sounds around you just not as clear as they once were? At Professional Hearing Services, we provide comprehensive hearing tests and hearing aid fittings to help you experience your life to the fullest. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Pro Hearing Online

Mobile, In-Home Audiology and Hearing Care

Professional Hearing Services, Inc. is Denver’s premiere onsite healthcare hearing center provider. In business since 1992, we are independent Doctors of Audiology. Get your personalized treatment plan for better hearing today, direct to you in your home!
Get in Touch With Us