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Most people with hearing loss don’t get hearing aids even if they need them. There are a lot of reasons for this, but in part it’s because they have misconceptions about hearing devices, or simply don’t know enough about them to make that choice. If you or your loved one have untreated hearing loss, these seven things will help you make up your mind.
You’re Not Alone
People with hearing loss sometimes believe they are the only one with the problem. That is far from the reality. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America close to 20 percent Americans have hearing loss, and the numbers rise sharply with age. Close to 30 million adults in the US would benefit from hearing aids but few use them. Your decision to get hearing aids not only benefits you, but as more and more people start using them, the less others will find a stigma attached to their use.
Hearing Aids Have Changed
The technology related to hearing aids has changed dramatically in the last decades, and all signs point to continued improvement. They are much more discreet than models from the past, and the newest models let you connect directly to your TV and other devices. This creates a much better environment for people with hearing loss and those around them.
Enjoy a Better Quality of Life
The National Institute for Aging found that people with untreated hearing loss were twice as likely to be depressed, and that they reported feeling sadder than people who wore hearing aids. If you’re still on the fence about getting a hearing aid, think of how great it will be to hear the birds chirping again, or to have easier conversations with your loved ones.
Hearing Aids and Dementia
Several studies have shown that people with hearing loss experience dementia and a general decline in cognitive abilities at a higher rate than those with good hearing. Dr. Frank R. Lin, otolaryngologist at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health directed a prospective study of 1,984 older adults that found that those who initially had hearing loss were 24 percent more likely than their age-mates with normal hearing to experience cognitive decline within six years. However, it is not yet known whether wearing properly adjusted hearing aids can decrease the risk of dementia or slow its onset. A study sponsored by the National Institute on Aging should show in five years whether using hearing aids can help preserve brain function in people with hearing loss as they age.
Hearing Aids Save Relationships
When people don’t address their hearing loss they may also notice that their relationships with loved ones change. It is frustrating for others to have difficulty with phone conversations, hearing the loud volume on TVs and radios, and experiencing a lack of communication. When couples address hearing loss together, everyone wins.
Hearing Aids Help You Feel Better Rested
If you have hearing loss, you also may find that you are tired in the middle of the day or go to bed earlier. This isn’t a figment of your imagination. It’s called listening fatigue, and it’s caused by how hard you have to concentrate to make out what other people are saying. Once you wear a hearing aid and don’t strain so hard, you will also find that your energy levels get higher.
Hearing Aids Can Save Your Life
Hearing aids do not cure hearing loss, but they certainly do help people hear better. We take fire alarms, emergency broadcast messages, and sirens for granted, but imagine the dangers of not being able to hear them. A person with a hearing aid is also more likely to avoid things like oncoming traffic and other dangers.