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The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to brush off. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and forcing people to repeat themselves.

But aside from the stress this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.

The following are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on important conversations and familiar sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your personal world of sound narrows.

2. Anxiety and depression

A study by the National Council on the Aging found that individuals with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social compared to people who wore hearing aids.

Hearing loss can bring about damaged relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have significant psychological effects.

3. Cognitive decline

Hearing loss can affect your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that those with hearing loss suffered rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.

The rate of decline is dependent upon the extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive skill 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.

4. Mental exhaustion

Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the additional effort is tiring. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, particularly after long meetings or group activities.

5. Diminished work performance

The Better Hearing Institute found that, according to a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss negatively influenced annual household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The economic impact was directly connected to the amount of hearing loss.

The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes while at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the marketplace.

6. Safety considerations

Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially unsafe scenarios. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling and the chance of falling increased as hearing loss became more serious.

The reality is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a number of physical, mental, and social effects that can dramatically decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all preventable.

Most of the consequences we just discussed are the product of diminished sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can supply the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.

That’s why the majority of patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It permits them to easily understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for many years.

Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and discover for yourself how your life can improve.