The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Take control of your hearing health
Why hearing loss is difficult to self-diagnose
In cases of age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, the onset of symptoms can be difficult to recognize in ourselves. This is because of their slow and subtle nature. In both instances, it is the fine hair cells of the inner ear that cease to function optimally. Over time, due to the natural aging process or repeated exposure to excessive noise, these cells begin to decay. They are non-regenerative, which means that they don’t repair themselves when damaged nor do they replicate or produce new versions. Instead, we simply lose functionality.
These cells are responsible for capturing the noise of the external world and delivering sound information to the brain via the auditory nerve. In the brain’s processing centers, meaning and language are made from this sound information.
As our receptive inner ear cells degenerate, less sound information is sent to the brain. Difficulty with speech clarity is one of the first indicators of hearing loss, and so you might find yourself asking the folks you’re in conversation with to speak up or repeat themselves. Typically, most patients will report saying "I can hear you, but I can't understand you."
Receiving a diagnosis from a trained hearing professional is the only way to know how hearing loss is impacting your life and the steps you might take to return to a better hearing reality.
Mental and emotional impact
Hearing loss doesn’t go away, in fact, it usually worsens over time. When we don’t have a clear medical hearing loss diagnosis, we tend to slowly change our behavior to cope with our loss of healthy hearing. For many people, this means that they avoid conversations and situations that are now effortful and frustrating. Social isolation is one of the most reported outcomes associated with hearing loss.
Depression is also strongly associated with hearing loss. Scientists and medical researchers have long warned of this link, but recent studies reveal that there is a significant link between hearing loss and moderate to severe depression, most strongly present among those under 70 years of age and women.
When people invest in hearing solutions, they report improved relationships which can stem isolation and depressive tendencies.
Improved confidence in the workplace
One of the leading concerns facing people with hearing loss is its effect on their professional prospects and performance. Meetings become exhausting and confusing and we’re less likely to feel in control of our communication with others on our team. In fact, seeking more confidence in the workplace while living with hearing loss is reported as a highly motivating factor in deciding to pursue treatment.
Beyond enhanced hearing, taking control of your hearing reality can inspire confidence simply by confronting your condition.
Decrease risks of Dementia
Because of the previously mentioned connection between how we hear and the work our brains do to process sound, we are learning more and more about the ways untreated hearing loss can lead to increased risks of cognitive disorders. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease have strong links with hearing loss and researchers posit the correlation exists because of the implications due to depriving our brains of the sound information it expects.
Not only does intervening in hearing loss help to restore more sound information to the brain, it also helps us to participate in the activities that help delay or prevent Dementia. Exercise, mobility, relationships, and conversation all help us engage more fully in life and all are made more accessible when hearing loss is being treated.