Human beings are social creatures and communication is key to our interactions. Good hearing is imperative to give us the ability to catch the nuances and intonation of speech. Reduced ability to hear can lead to many social problems and lead to increased mental stress, and less interaction with others can have an enormous impact on our cognitive ability, making hearing aids and hearing solutions vitally important.
Unfortunately, untreated hearing loss has been observed to be one of the main contributors to dementia out of all the modifiable conditions we have control over. It can also lead to anxiety, isolation, loneliness, feelings of less self-worth and depression.
If you’re concerned about hearing loss, take our free online hearing test or call your nearest clinic; Horsham 01403 218 863, Chichester 01243 774 536, or Seaford 01323 899 655.
Does hearing loss affect mental health?
A new study looked into the social and health impacts of hearing loss and how it can affect a person’s well being. Listed below are what we know untreated hearing loss can lead to:
- low self-worth
- self isolation
- feelings of fear
The report by Clear Living, a healthcare and lifestyle website, asked 3,700 users of their site who have a hearing loss, what has impacted them most in their lives during 2019-2020. A staggering 89% of participants cited social and personal problems and 58% said their relationships had suffered, while 39% claimed conversations had declined or were harder to follow.
Hearing loss increases listening effort and increases cognitive strain. Mishearing words or commands can cause embarrassment and it is often easier to withdraw from conversation or social situations. A study by Johns Hopkins found that one in five Americans over the age of twelve had a severe enough hearing loss to impact communication. Whilst an American study, it is reasonable to suggest that the statistics would be similar in the UK.
How hearing aids and hearing treatment can improve mental health
Improved speech understanding will instill greater self-confidence and a willingness to participate more in conversation without the fear of getting it wrong.
Wearing hearing aids has all the benefits one would expect by boosting self esteem, reducing fear, an increased desire to interact and less anxiety.
Better cognitive function
Treating hearing loss reduces listening effort and cognitive function. Increased stimulus keeps our neural pathways open and less energy is spent trying to guess what the word might have been.
Improved conversation between partners means better understanding and less confusion, which means less suspicion. Jokes and timing are also easier to interpret, leading to more laughter,fun and reduced stress.
Research by the Better Hearing Institute found that untreated hearing loss can reduce annual earnings by as much as $30,000.
Research in Iceland also linked untreated hearing loss in men over 67 years of age to an increased chance of dying in the next five years, most often from heart disease.
Better quality of life
It stands to reason that improved hearing and all the health benefits that come with it will result in a better quality of life.
Are invisible hearing aids the best choice?
It is true that most people’s desire is for a hearing aid to be invisible, or at least as discreet as possible. In reality, improving hearing to get greater cognitive benefits doesn’t depend on the size of the instrument. The most important course of action is to treat hearing loss in the first place, however, invisible hearing aids can be one effective solution in living with hearing loss..
What to do if you have hearing loss
If you feel your hearing is not as good as it used to be, book a hearing test at your earliest opportunity. A comprehensive assessment of your hearing will give you a benchmark from which you can measure all future tests and interventions.
A diagnostic assessment will determine whether a hearing loss is present, whether something needs to be actioned now, or if it is due to a simple blockage like wax, which we can remove easily, safely and painlessly as part of our ear wax removal services.
Contact South East Hearing Care Centres
To book an appointment or request more information please call us on 01403 218863, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out a form submission on our website.