By Dr. Jill Copley ~
Successfully treating hearing loss can increase your income, improve dementia-like symptoms, and decrease your risk of serious falls.
There are many types of health issues that relate to hearing loss. These include social health, dementia, and falls.
A study comparing people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids versus those that did not found some surprising results: Up to 25% of those wearing hearing aids found to be in better physical health than those who did not.
This number is impressive, considering that the only action for the hearing loss was wearing hearing aids — there was no medication or another medical treatment!
Participants reported higher self-confidence, more willingness to participate in group activities, better relationships with their children/grandchildren, and improved mental health. Family members and people with more severe hearing loss tended to notice more improvement.
For working adults, another study found that people with hearing loss could make up to 25% less money than their hearing peers. The study also showed that wearing hearing aids mitigated this income loss 65%-100%, depending on the severity of hearing loss.
Recent studies have shown a strong association between hearing loss and dementia.
With the aging population, the number of new cases of Alzheimer’s Disease grows every year. There are also more diagnoses of mild cognitive impairment — about 20-25% of people over the age of 65. We know that people with dementia have more hearing loss, as well as a more severe hearing loss, than their peers.
Some studies show that people with dementia who are fit with hearing instruments have less severe dementia symptoms than those who are not fit. To many, this means better communication with family and friends, as well as more independence to make good decisions as they age.
Another critical health issue that is related to hearing is the risk of falling.
According to the CDC, falls are the most common cause of injury or death in people over the age of 65. They cost billions of dollars in medical expenses.
Even those with a mild hearing loss are at higher risk of falling than those with normal hearing. While there are many causes for falls, the good news is that one of the significant predictors, hearing loss, can be successfully treated with hearing instruments! One patient of mine said that she immediately noticed her balance was better when she got her new hearing aids.
I’d like to end with a few quotes from my patients because they’re the ones who know best how hearing aids improve their lives:
“I should have gotten my devices sooner; they changed my life.”
“When I suddenly loss my hearing due to chemotherapy, I became somewhat depressed and sad. Once I got my new hearing instruments, I felt normal again. Getting help for your hearing makes life easier for those around you.”