The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Some people wait years and even decades when deciding to treat hearing loss. The average person suffers from hearing loss for a decade before choosing treatment. And, upon treatment, people tend to be highly satisfied with their decision. The vast majority of hearing aid wearers would recommend them to a friend dealing with hearing loss.
So why wait? While we can’t name any upsides of prolonging your time without treating hearing loss, there are many benefits to treating hearing loss as soon as possible. These benefits run from improved relationships to more confidence in your professional life to decreasing your risk of dementia.
Protect Your Cognitive Abilities
Perhaps most importantly, choosing to intervene in hearing loss is a proactive step in protecting your cognitive health. Hearing aids can reduce the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's. The way that we hear is inherently complex, involving the complex interaction of our brain’s processes.
While our ears get most of the attention when it comes to hearing health, much of the activity we perceive as listening happens in the brain. We collect sound from the outside world via the brilliant architecture of our ears. That sound is then received by the fine, sensitive hair cells of the inner ear. From there, the sound information is transmitted to the brain’s processing centers via the auditory nerve. But those delicate inner ear cells are also non-regenerative, which means that they do not repair themselves or reproduce once they become damaged. Over time, the natural aging processes deplete our finite store of these cells. Additional trauma, such as too-loud noise or traumatic brain injuries (including concussions) can further harm these cells.
The result is that we lose the ability to transfer sound information to the brain. Of course, the brain experiences this as a loss of sound information. Because of a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, our brains can reorganize themselves well into our most mature years. As the brain loses access to the information it has become accustomed to, it might begin to restructure the duties of its processes centers. While scientists have not unearthed the precise reasons that hearing health is related to cognitive decline and dementia, this may be one reason why investing in hearing health interventions like hearing aids can prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Wearing hearing aids amplifies the amount of sound information its wearer collects from the external world. This, in turn, provides the brain with more of the sound information previously lost. The brain then has the pieces it needs to continue to use its processing centers as it has been designed to do.
And that’s not all. Wearing hearing aids can help you to be more engaged in the world and connected to people you love. Common recommendations for protecting against a dementia diagnosis include maintaining these exact connections to keep the brain nimble and responsive, further aiding you in the fight against cognitive decline.
Confidence in the Workplace
One of the primary anxieties that accompanies hearing loss is the fear of losing ground in the workplace. Our professional lives and daily labors help us feel needed and connected to the world. When we feel that we are in danger of losing our capability due to hearing loss, stress is a natural reaction.
A 2021 study by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association revealed the magnitude of anxiety among employed people in the United States. A startling 37 percent were concerned that trouble hearing could hurt their ability to remain employed. A higher percentage, 44 percent, worried that their hearing loss would reduce their effectiveness at work.
Though the distress related to hearing loss in the workplace is natural, choosing to treat challenged hearing with hearing aids is a proven and effective solution.
Hearing aids can dramatically enhance your listening experience. They help you to participate fully in conversations and feel confident sitting in professional meetings and trainings, both particularly challenging listening environments. Hearing aids can even extend the life of your career, helping you to stay self-assured in the workplace and effective in your tasks for years to come.
Of course, as important as our cognitive health and workplace productivity are, the most important factor in most people’s lives is their experience of right now with the people they love.
A vast majority of hearing aid wearers report improved relationships. And it makes sense. One of the most tragic impacts of hearing loss on a person’s life is the loss of connection. People with hearing loss are more likely to report feelings of isolation and depression than people who have healthy hearing.
Hearing aids and other hearing loss solutions can help you to step back into the fulfilling relationships that make up the foundation of your life. Phone calls with friends and grandkids, outings with dear friends, and even social events like family and social gatherings can become less stressful when you choose hearing aids.
Instead of experiencing frustration and effortful attempts at interacting with loved ones, hearing aids can give you back ease in hearing and thus, more connection.