The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

Older father and son talking on a couch

The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

Though more than 30 million Americans have demonstrated hearing loss, diagnosis, and intervention rates remain lacking. Less than 20 percent of the people who could benefit from hearing aids or cochlear implants have tried the treatment. But, treating hearing loss has a myriad of positive impacts. We know that it can decrease feelings of depression, improve relationships and even lessen the risks of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
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Why Do People Avoid Hearing Loss Treatment?

People tend to delay a diagnosis and treatment until their hearing loss has made communication nearly impossible. In part, this is because the early signs of hearing loss can be so subtle.

In cases of age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, which account for a majority of later-onset hearing trouble, the primary cause of a decline in hearing health stems from the damage or decay of the sensitive inner ear cells responsible for receiving sound information from the outside world and transmitting that information to the brain for processing.

We tend to lose high-frequency sounds first, so speech clarity is a major indicator of one’s hearing health. Likely, we don’t even notice when hearing loss first arrives because this change can be so subtle.

Over time, though, hearing loss will inevitably progress until it is impossible to ignore. By then, treatment can still be implemented, but years have been spent suffering unnecessarily. On average, people who ultimately decide on hearing aids have waited around a decade before choosing to invest in intervention.

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Improved Emotional & Mental Well-Being

Two of the leading mental and emotional conditions reported by people with hearing loss are feelings of isolation and depression. As human beings, we are fundamentally wired for connection. Hearing loss can cause us to avoid conversation, when chatting with neighbors and friends becomes effortful and frustrating. Particularly when hearing loss remains undiagnosed, we can begin to withdraw from opportunities to connect without even being aware that we’re doing it. It’s in our nature to avoid difficulty and confusing and unsatisfying conversations certainly rank as unpleasant!

With hearing loss can also come a sense of shame, which compounds depression. Confronting hearing loss with a confirmed diagnosis and moving towards acceptance of the condition, with treatment by hearing aids or other avenues can help inspire pride and hope instead.

Studies support the idea that treating hearing loss can alleviate feelings of depression. Not only do they show positive results in the short term, but there is also evidence that the depression-relieving benefits continue for some time.

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Improved Personal Relationships

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on a person suffering from the condition, but it also impacts friends, family members, and loved ones. Not only is the hearing life of a person with hearing loss changed, but so are the relationships and moments of closeness that make our lives fulfilling and vibrant.

The good news is that hearing aids can lessen the impact of hearing loss on our closest connections. Most people who choose to intervene in hearing loss are profoundly happy with their decision. They cite improved relationships as a major outcome after investing in hearing aids, and most would recommend hearing aids to a friend facing similar troubles with their hearing.

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Improved Cognitive Abilities

Hearing loss has long been linked to higher incidences of cognitive decline, resulting in types of dementia like Alzheimer’s Disease. The most common reason for age-related and noise-induced hearing loss is a decline in the health of inner ear cells, which are integral to our hearing process. However, much of what we consider ‘hearing’ actually happens in the brain.

Those inner-ear cells receive information from the external world, and their job is to transmit that sound information to the brain’s processing centers via the auditory nerve. When these cells are compromised, less sound gets to the brain and our processing centers do not receive the information they are accustomed to.

Because of a wonderful attribute of our human brains, we can learn, grow and adapt as long as we are alive because our brains have neuroplasticity. Essentially, our brains are flexible organs that can adapt themselves based on our experiences. Unfortunately, experts post that it also might explain the link between hearing loss and dementia.

When our brain’s auditory processing center does not receive the information it expects, it may restructure to adapt to this new reality. In that reorganization, opportunities for cognitive decline may arise.

Start your journey to better hearing today!

The wonderful news is that treating hearing loss with hearing aids may reduce the risk of dementia or slow its progression. By enhancing a person’s listening experience, hearing aids can help to provide suitable levels of sound information to the brain so that the reorganization process never happens.

Experience the benefits of improved hearing, and avoid the complications that arise from untreated hearing loss, by scheduling your hearing consultation with us today!

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