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Posted on Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Undiagnosed hearing loss leads to isolation

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There are even more reasons to have an annual hearing loss test. Not only does it help to keep your hearing health and help you to diagnose problems--hearing and whole body--but it turns out undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to isolation and cognitive decline.

Undiagnosed hearing loss was examined in seniors ages 60 to 69 and shown to have negative influence on health. In fact a relatively small decrease in the ability to discern decibels can be cause for concern. According to an article on HearingReview, "The study found that for every 10 decibel drop (roughly equivalent to the sound of calm breathing) in hearing sensitivity, the odds of social isolation increased by 52%."

52% is a huge difference. The impact of untreated hearing loss not only impacts social interactions, it can also increase cognitive decline. The same decrease in ability to hear 10 decibel was shown to be equivalent to four years of aging when it came to cognitive decline. Does this mean that you can become happier and stay younger by taking care of your hearing? Well, the study doesn't say, but we do know a few things about treating hearing loss from prior studies. Things like:

• Strengthen Relationships—Hearing loss places great stress on both parties in a relationship. People are more likely to feel dismissed or ignored when hearing loss is involved. Hearing aids opens up daily communication, ease this stress, and bridge relationship gaps created due to hearing loss.
• Reduce Discrimination—People who have hearing loss and who miscommunicate on the job, out on the town, or at home often face assumptions about their intelligence or ability to understand. Hearing aids help eliminate this discrimination by providing a more level playing field for people with hearing loss.
• Reduce Frustration—Your hearing loss can impact balance, safety, stress, and your interpretation of events and subtle emotional tones. Hearing aids help with all these areas thereby reducing frustration and self-doubt.
• Reduce Depression—Self-isolation is a common response to hearing loss. This isolation can lead to depression. Hearing aids reduce the need for self-isolation and therefore the depression often associated with it.
• Reduce Anxiety- People with hearing loss often become anxious about going out and socializing. Hearing aids can return a lost, youthful acceptance about going out, making it once again “normal” and not something to get worked up and worried about.
• Reduce Paranoia—Not hearing well can result in common misconceptions about safety, social acceptance, and leave people feeling dismissed. Hearing aids return awareness and help reduce false assumptions.
• Reduce Social Phobias—Avoidance of social situations is a common result of unaddressed hearing loss. Using hearing aids reduces this stress and relieves this social phobia.
• Reduce Self-Criticism—Even though hearing loss is the cause people tend to blame themselves for mistakes in communication. Hearing aids increase the ability to hear and communicate helping eliminate this type of self-criticism.
• Increase Self-Esteem—Studies show that self-esteem increases in conjunction with the comfortable use of hearing aids. This may be due to increases in social ease, self-expression, and social awareness.
• Increase Ability to Concentrate—Hearing well means that the stress and concentration once needed to interpret environment and speech is relieved. This allows people with hearing loss to concentrate on other things, frees up the brain, and causes less exhaustion.
• Increase Communication—Hearing aids can restore a diminished ability both for self-expression and for inquiring how others are feeling.

And sure, you can read this list and say that we at People Hearing Better are a little biased. And you'd be right. We're dedicated to better hearing. But that's because we know and believe in the undeniable benefits of hearing better. We're loud and proud in our promotion of hearing better! But not too loud as we wouldn't want to cause noise induced hearing loss.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can keep your hearing health, visit your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

Resources
Undiagnosed Hearing Loss in Seniors Means More Isolation, Taken from HearingReview, accessed on July 5, 2016 http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/06/undiagnosed-hearing-loss-seniors-me...

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