In fact, new technologies have made it easier to manage hearing loss and stay engaged in life.
Today’s hearing aids help people with hearing loss better hear sounds and people from all directions, and they filter out noise. Many sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal and out of sight; and many are wireless, so they can interface easily with other high-tech devices like smartphones, home entertainment systems, conference-room speakerphones, and hearing loops. Some are even waterproof; and others are rechargeable.
Addressing hearing loss really can help you better maintain your vitality. Here’s how:
- By getting out and enjoying life: People with hearing difficulty who use hearing aids get more pleasure in doing things and are even more likely to exercise and meet up with friends to socialize, BHI research shows. In fact, most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their overall quality of life.
- By nurturing relationships and social connections: Most people who currently wear hearing aids say it not only helps their overall ability to communicate effectively in most situations, but it also has a positive effect on their relationships and ability to participate in group activities. And they’re more likely to have a strong social network.
- By keeping a positive outlook: Research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life. Many even say they feel more confident and better about themselves as a result of using hearing aids.
- By being a go-getter: People with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems actively, research shows. And most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. In fact, earlier BHI research found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, the study found.
- By doing what you can to protect your cognitive function, stay on your feet, and keep the blues away: A study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University found that hearing aids may slow cognitive decline tied to hearing loss, according to Reuters. The study found that estimated 20-year rates of decline in memory and global function were greatest in participants who did not use a hearing aid. Earlier studies have linked hearing loss to dementia and cognitive issues. Another Johns Hopkins study showed that people in middle age (40-69) with even just mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. The intensive listening effort demanded by unaddressed hearing loss may take cognitive resources away from what is needed for balance and gait, researchers have suggested. And a 2014 study found that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds.
A version of this article was originally posted at the Better Hearing Institute.