7 ways treating hearing loss can help seniors feel young

mature couple eating

Hearing aids can make living with hearing loss significantly easier.

Interestingly enough, the association many people make between hearing aids and feeling old is somewhat counterintuitive. While age-related hearing loss certainly makes hearing aids in greater demand among seniors, these devices actually contribute to long-term health and revitalized feelings of independence. Simply put, hearing aids make it possible for those experiencing mild to severe hearing loss to better interact and enjoy day-to-day functions. Surprisingly, the majority of people that could benefit from hearing aids (65%) are under age 65 and that group is growing larger. Additionally, according to the National Institutes of Health, only 16 percent of adults age 20 to 69 who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them. However, these devices can make living with hearing loss significantly easier. Here are seven reasons that hearing aids can help seniors feel young:

  1. Improved balance
    According to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, those with just a mild hearing loss(25 decibels) are three times more likely to have a history of falling, and for every additional 10 decibels one's risk of falling goes up 1.4 times. The scientists theorize that hearing loss may add to one's cognitive load, making it more challenging for the brain to focus on walking and balancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that falls are the No. 1 cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. Do not let falling slow you down, or worse. Hearing aids help to improve your balance and avoid unnecessary injury.
  2. Take control of your social life
    The National Council on Aging conducted a survey of 2,300 individuals with hearing loss age 50 or olderand found that those who wear hearing aids are more likely to participate in social activities. Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported improved feelings of self-confidence and 34 percent reported an improved social life. Overall, a majority of hearing aid users and their families found that these devices bettered relations at home. If you look back over the past few years, have you given up social activities because it was such a challenge to keep up with conversation or because you felt exhausted after returning home, then your hearing loss may be cutting you off from your social life. Schedule a hearing screening to see if hearing aids will help you strengthen your relationships with friends and family.
  3. Maintain your cognitive function
    Another study by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins University found that adults who wear hearing aids are less likely develop memory and thinking problems. In general, the team found that the severity of hearing loss directly correlates to problems in cognitive function, resulting in older adults with untreated hearing loss having significant cognitive impairment years sooner than those with normal hearing. Overall, hearing aids can play an integral role in improving long-term cognitive function and helping retain one's memory and thinking abilities.
  4. Stay sharp at work
    A study published inHearing LossMagazine examining the effects of hearing loss in the workplace found clear and convincing evidence that the degree of hearing loss is directly related to compensation. In fact, this research indicated that for those with the most severe hearing loss, wearing hearing aids versus not wearing hearing aids resulted in an average income differential of $31,000 per year. Discouragingly, the study also found that even with the help of hearing aids, those with the most severe hearing loss make $11,000 less per year on average than colleagues with normal hearing. Make sure that you can keep up in any fast-paced work environment by making your hearing health a priority.
  5. Stay out of danger
    Hearing impairment can put you at higher risk throughout the day of not being as alert to sirens, car horns and various alarms. Imagine not waking up to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector or not being able to hear an ambulance approaching when you're on the road. These types of scenarios can cause unnecessary risks for a person with hearing loss. Ensure that you can maintain your sense of independence by using hearing aids to stay safe on the road and at home.
  6. Better communication with loved ones
    The previously mentioned survey by the National Council on Aging found that 40 percent of hearing aid users reported improved relationships with children and grandchildren. Furthermore, hearing aid users can better communicate with a spouse to keep relations at home strong. In fact, 8 percent of hearing aid users reported an improved sex life. Make your loved ones a priority by addressing your hearing loss and bettering your hearing health.
  7. Avoid depression
    Numerous studies have linked hearing loss to depression, anxiety, social isolation and feelings of paranoia. This correlation is relevant to many people with untreated hearing loss, regardless of gender or age. In general, hearing experts believe this link relates to those with untreated hearing loss not being able to communicate and socialize as easily, leading to feelings of isolation and depression. Friends and family often notice hearing loss first, and then may start addressing a loved one differently, such as by speaking louder, slower or even in frustrated tones. Unfortunately, this can add to feelings of paranoia and isolation. Seeking treatment allows a person experiencing hearing loss to address this issue head on, and reduce risk of experiencing mild to severe depression.

If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, contact an audiologist or a hearing health care professional at your local AccuQuest Hearing Center.

If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.

Hearing loss makes hearing aids in greater demand among seniors. These devices actually contribute to long-term health and revitalized feelings of independence. Simply put, hearing aids make it possible for those experiencing hearing loss to better interact and enjoy day-to-day functions.