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Hearing Loss Could Lead to Mobility Issues
Most people don’t think twice about running out to grab a coffee or a carton of milk. These daily errands are not a big deal for people with normal hearing, but for those with untreated hearing loss, it can become an obstacle.
Our sense of hearing is always on, whether we realize it or not. Hearing keeps us connected to the world around us and plays a huge role in our daily activities. A series of studies from Finland have revealed that untreated hearing loss could result in limited movement to local areas, which could affect quality of life.
Studies: Movement of Older People is Negatively Affected Due to Hearing Loss
Researchers from the University of Jyvaskyla and the University of Tampere, both located in Finland, have found that “people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good.” Results from this study were published in the Journal of Gerontology and were also a part of an international project, Hearing, Remembering, and Living Well.
This study was conducted over a two-year period in which 848 people (between the ages of 75 and 90) were surveyed. Results show that “during the two-year monitoring period, the people who were hard of hearing were more than twice as likely as others to limit their movement only to nearby areas.”
Moreover, researchers found that a baseline result from an audiogram is not enough to indicate the way hearing loss affects a person’s everyday life. Other factors also play a role, according to Hannele Polku, a doctoral student and one of the researchers on the study.
She says, “A person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may affect their everyday functioning. On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one’s own doesn’t experience the same number of problems due to a change of similar degree in hearing.”
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
As documented in this study over a two-year period, hearing issues could impact your daily life – regardless of the life you lead. For people who are less active and social, difficulties hearing could prevent them from leaving the house and running errands. On the other hand, people with busy social calendars and many different modes of communication might struggle with speech recognition.
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of negative consequences that affect one’s emotional and physical health. People with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw socially, as communication becomes difficult. In time, this could lead to a breakdown in important interpersonal relationships. At the same time, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased risk for depression, stress, and anxiety.
In terms of physical health, studies have indicated that untreated hearing loss could potentially increase the risk for dementia. When your brain struggles to make sense of sound, it could have detrimental effects on your cognitive abilities. Studies from Johns Hopkins have found a link between this and the development of dementia. In a separate study from Japan, researchers found that people who treated hearing loss with hearing aids showed significantly improved cognitive functions in tasks than people who left hearing loss untreated.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss has many far-reaching effects on our lives. From conversations to compensation on the job, hearing loss could make or break our well-being. People who treat their hearing loss with the use of hearing aids have been found to perform well on the job, which does not adversely affect their earning power. In terms of our most important relationships, with our friends, families, and partners, treating hearing loss ensures that we’ll be able to communicate well.
By treating hearing loss, we are less likely to go out into the world and engage. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a quick happy hour drink with a colleague, the use of hearing aids to treat hearing loss can bring significant benefits. Hearing aids provide us with confidence in any listening situation, and with advanced technologies, they connect us to our smartphones and the world around us.
If you’ve been on the fence about treating your hearing loss, take the first step toward being more connected. Contact us at Advanced Tech Hearing today to schedule a hearing test.