The intensive listening effort demanded by untreated hearing loss can be extremely stressful.
Experts believe that even if you have just a mild hearing loss that is not being treated, cognitive load increases significantly.
Research shows that when left unaddressed, hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health issues that diminish quality of life.
Withdrawal from social situations, a lessened ability to cope, and reduced overall psychological health are just some of the conditions associated with unaddressed hearing loss. Often, people with untreated hearing loss feel angry, frustrated, anxious, isolated, and depressed.
A 2014 study, in fact, showed that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages, but is most pronounced in 18 to 69 year olds. Another study, conducted in Italy, looked at working adults—35 to 55 years of age—with untreated mild to moderate age-related hearing loss and found that they were more prone to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity than those with no hearing problems.
The good news is that for the vast majority of people with hearing loss, hearing aids can help. In fact, research shows that most people with hearing loss who use hearing aids see improvements in their ability to communicate effectively in most situations.
When people with hearing loss use hearing aids, their mental health often rallies and depressive symptoms are often reduced. Many people regain emotional stability; have an easier time joining in groups and become more socially engaged; experience a greater sense of safety and independence; feel more in control of their lives; and see a general improvement in their overall quality of life. Many even report improvements in their relationships at home and at work.
Simply, the majority of hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives due to their hearing aids. And many say they feel better about themselves and life overall as a result.
Getting a hearing test and using professionally fitted hearing aids—when recommended by a hearing healthcare professional—is an important way for people with hearing loss to ease the stress associated with intensive listening and to safeguard their mental health and quality of life.
To determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, take this free, quick, and confidential online hearing check.