Hearing loss is typically gradual, and therefore, often something we adapt to over time. We might not notice it for months or years. However, age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, so experiencing hearing loss is not uncommon.
Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and more than two-thirds of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
More and more research demonstrates that individuals with hearing loss do best when they do not wait to get hearing aids. Read on to better understand the top reasons to get your hearing tested — and get hearing aids if needed.
Top reasons not to delay hearing loss treatment
1. Overall health and safety. There’s a relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, brain tissue loss, depression, and an increased risk for falling. The earlier you seek treatment, the less likely there will be irreversible damage to the hearing pathways within the brain.
2. Use it or lose it. When someone loses their hearing, the nerves and sections of the brain responsible for hearing experience atrophy, or weaken, due to the lack of sound. This makes the process of getting used to a hearing aid much more difficult.
3. Fatigue. Living with untreated hearing loss means we are straining to hear daily. By the end of the day, this leads many individuals to feel mentally fatigued.
4. Relationships. Untreated hearing loss also affects relationships with friends and family. It can be difficult to communicate effectively with untreated hearing loss. Loved ones may feel they are being ignored, and at the same time the individual with hearing loss may be frustrated their friend is “mumbling” or “talking too fast”. Treating hearing loss can improve relationships by allowing us to be more attentive and sociable.
5. Your career. Untreated hearing loss can decrease earnings by as much as $30,000 per year. Employed individuals with hearing loss earn about 25% compared to their counterparts.
6. “New” sounds. With hearing aids, many individuals can hear sounds they have not heard in years: children laughing, birds chirping, and more. With access to these new sounds, you can’t help but feel more joyful.
7. You’ll get used to them sooner! It takes up to four months to acclimate to hearing aids. The sooner you start, the sooner they will become a part of your typical routine.