The New Year is here and with it comes the regular declarations of New Year’s resolutions. While you may plan to spend more time exploring hobbies, traveling more or spending more time with family, it’s important that your health is in order first.
Hearing loss is the 3rd most common ongoing illness in the United States. While hearing loss is an issue with your ears, it can negatively impact so many parts of your life and make those New Years resolutions hard to achieve. The myth of benign hearing loss that “isn’t that bad” has been shattered. Research has shown that hearing loss affects more than just hearing. Untreated hearing loss can affect people socially, mentally, and physically. The good news is that the use of properly fitted hearing aids has been shown to reduce or eliminate the challenges associated with hearing loss.
Causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss can occur at any age and for many reasons. Prolonged exposure to noises at work or recreation such as machinery can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Some medications are ototoxic and can cause or accelerate hearing loss. You can inherit hearing loss from your family. It is also common for hearing loss to happen, as you get older. Hearing loss may happen by itself or with ringing in your ears called tinnitus. Dizziness and ringing in the ear are common. Sensitivity to loud sounds may also occur. The hearing loss comes and goes, but over time some loss becomes permanent.
Hearing loss and relationships
Although you experience it alone, your hearing loss can affect all of your relationships. Don’t underestimate the impact of hearing loss on your spouse or partner. Oftentimes, both halves of a couple will report frustration, a sense of isolation, and resentment toward their partner when hearing loss is left untreated. Relatives and friends of hearing-impaired individuals can be adversely affected. Relationships with family, friends and coworkers suffer, sometimes to the extent that individuals experience a decrease in their willingness to socialize with or engage in a conversation when everyone around them consistently fails to hear them properly. Friends and family members’ frustration likewise increases when attempting to communicate with a person with untreated hearing loss.
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
Recent studies show untreated hearing loss leads to increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Frank Lin, MD, PhD, says, “The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging.” However, recent findings suggest that it plays a much greater role in brain health. Lin has conducted several studies pointing to a link between hearing loss and cognitive problems ranging from mild impairment to dementia. He further reports the more severe the loss, the greater the risk of developing dementia. Elderly individuals who had suffered a moderate hearing loss were at a three times greater risk of developing dementia than normal hearing subjects. Those with a more severe hearing loss were at a five times greater risk. The author states, however, that increased risk does not mean a person is guaranteed to develop dementia.
Hearing aids for hearing loss
Because most hearing losses cannot be corrected medically or surgically, the primary method for treating hearing loss is the use of hearing aids and, cochlear implants. Despite the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss, only 20% of people with hearing loss have taken corrective action. Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated digital, programmable, cosmetically appealing devices that have been proven to improve hearing even in noisy environments. It is imperative that the type and degree of hearing loss are diagnosed before a hearing aid is recommended or fitted.
Make an appointment for a hearing test today with Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center
Hearing aids can help hearing-impaired individuals live better lives, participate in social activities, keep their jobs, and improve overall quality of life. It is strongly recommended that all individuals, especially those over the age of 60, have their hearing checked annually.
If you suspect you have a hearing loss, contact us at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center today. We can diagnose you’re your hearing and help you find the best treatment for you and your lifestyle to ring in the New Year and the new decade with style.