It is hard to believe that February is almost over, but as we roll into March, it’s time for one of the big days on your audiologist’s calendar: World Hearing Day. March 3rd is officially World Hearing Day, a date established by the World Health Organization that focuses on raising awareness and connecting people with hearing healthcare and treatment. This year, World Hearing Day has the motto “Check Your Hearing” and we couldn’t agree more.
Hearing loss is very common – more than 45 million Americans live with significant hearing loss- and it has a big impact on our lives. Hearing loss affects our performance in work and school settings, our ability to connect with loved ones, even our comfort with public places and navigating everyday life. Yet, even though hearing loss is the third most common chronic disease in this country, most people procrastinate and put off addressing hearing issues.
Know When to Get Your Hearing Checked
Studies have shown that, on average, people wait over seven years to have a hearing issue examined. Hearing is often viewed as “not a big deal” or “low priority” when thinking about total health. Many people are also under the false impression that “nothing can be done” for alleviating hearing loss. Nothing could be further from the truth. While most cases of hearing loss are permanent, ways of treating it have advanced in leaps and bounds. Solutions such as hearing aids can offer customized control over hearing and integrate with streaming technology, tinnitus relief and other hearing features to make sound comprehension easier and more fluid.
Treating hearing loss is directly tied to our wellness. Research has shown that hearing loss is tied to an increased risk of anxiety, depression and social isolation. The burden hearing loss places on our cognition has linked it to problems as diverse as falling accidents and contributing to dementia. Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to lower earnings and job performance.
When a change in the way you hear comes up, it’s time for a hearing test. If no immediate hearing issues are happening, get in the habit of scheduling an annual hearing exam that can catch problems early and establish a hearing health record for you.
The Cost of Untreated Hearing Loss
If you’ve procrastinated in scheduling your next hearing exam, it’s important to consider what a pivotal role our hearing plays in our overall well-being. We use our hearing every day to communicate with others and to detect our surroundings. When we lose our ability to hear it can be hard to enjoy conversations and music. Keeping up on the job or at school can become challenging, and the world becomes harder to navigate.
All these factors contribute to the toll untreated hearing loss takes on a person’s quality of life. Being unable to comprehend incoming speech and sounds can bring anxiety into everyday tasks. As it becomes harder to enjoy favorite activities and social opportunities, it becomes more natural to withdraw into isolation. Depression is also more likely for people with unaddressed hearing loss as they feel less understood as the stresses of hearing loss mount.
When hearing loss isn’t treated it places a big burden on our brain’s ability to perform all the cognitive work it must do. Instead of distributing our mental focus, hearing loss requires we give extra attention to interpreting incoming sounds. While the added concentration improves sound comprehension, it simultaneously shortchanges our other cognitive processes.
The risk of experiencing a fall or accident is more likely for people with untreated hearing loss because the proper attention can’t be given to balance and coordination while our brain works to comprehend sound. Serious falls and accidents can have long-lasting consequences for your body and health.
There is also a connection between untreated hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia. The lopsided cognitive patterns that accompany untreated hearing loss may be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Added to this, when patients with both unaddressed hearing loss and dementia were treated for their hearing loss, their cognitive skills got a significant boost.
Roseville Diagnostic Hearing Center
This March 3rd, take your first step to better hearing health: set up an appointment with Roseville Diagnostic Hearing Center for a hearing exam. Whether you are coming in for an annual exam or there’s a specific hearing concern that brings you in, our thorough, non-invasive testing will help you hear your best.