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

But in addition to the tension this places on personal relationships, there are additional, hidden effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as noticeable but more concerning.

Listed below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

Hearing loss can cause you to miss out on crucial conversations and common sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your private world of sound narrows.

2. Anxiety and depression

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

Hearing loss can lead to damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have serious emotional effects.

3. Intellectual decline

Hearing loss can impact 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 developed 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 certain words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the extra hassle is tiring. Individuals with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the end of the day, in particular following prolonged conferences or group activities.

5. Reduced work performance

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

The results make good sense. Hearing loss can lead to communication problems and mistakes at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.

6. Safety concerns

Individuals with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other alerts to potentially threatening conditions. They’re also more likely to experience falls.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been linked to 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 modest inconvenience—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social consequences that can significantly decrease an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.

Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the result of decreased sound stimulation to the brain. Modern day hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can provide the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.

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

Don’t risk the consequences—try out the new technology and see for yourself how your life can improve.