In the United States, around 48 million people are affected by some degree of hearing loss. However, many hesitate to acknowledge the issue. “People often feel embarrassed or ashamed about losing their hearing because they associate it with aging, so they ignore it,” says Alison Grimes, director of audiology at UCLA Health in Los Angeles.

Concerns about the cost and appearance of hearing aids also deter people from seeking help. On average, it takes seven years for individuals to seek treatment for hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. However, untreated hearing loss can be hazardous. Here are nine compelling reasons to address hearing loss now.

Embrace Hearing Aids Like Reading Glasses

Just as you wouldn’t feel embarrassed about wearing reading glasses, you shouldn’t hesitate to use hearing aids. Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is as common as age-related vision loss (presbyopia). Modern hearing aids are far more discreet than the bulky models of the past. Celebrities like Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Robert Redford, and Rob Lowe use hearing aids, making them more socially acceptable.

Even Mild Hearing Loss Alters Your Brain

“The ear sends information to the brain, so diminished hearing affects the brain,” explains Anu Sharma, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. When hearing declines, the brain reallocates resources from the auditory cortex to visual and sensory processing areas, leading to less stimulation and deterioration of the auditory cortex over time.

Unaddressed Hearing Loss Impacts Cognitive Functions

Struggling to hear in noisy environments activates the frontal and prefrontal cortexes, which are responsible for focus and working memory. This diversion of cognitive resources can impair comprehension and memory. Research links hearing loss to cognitive decline and dementia. A 2017 Lancet study identified hearing loss as a major modifiable risk for dementia, suggesting that using hearing aids can help mitigate cognitive issues.

Hearing Well is Crucial for Safety

Individuals with hearing loss may not detect smoke alarms, doorbells, or emergency sirens. Jackie Clark, a clinical professor at the University of Texas in Dallas, recounts a patient who failed to hear a home intruder, highlighting the importance of auditory awareness for safety. Additionally, research from Johns Hopkins University indicates that people with mild hearing loss are three times more likely to fall.

Straining to Hear Increases Stress Levels

“Even minimal hearing loss can elevate stress levels, leading to problems like muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue,” says Angela Shoup, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. This stress can also cause anxiety, frustration, anger, and depression.

Hearing Loss Impacts Your Social Interactions

Hearing difficulties make conversations exhausting, leading to social fatigue. Over time, the effort required to follow discussions can diminish the joy of social interactions, making it easier to withdraw from social activities.

Prioritize Hearing Health in Your Wellness Routine

“Incorporating hearing care into your wellness routine is as crucial as eating healthily and staying active,” Grimes advises. Regular hearing tests and treatment for hearing loss are essential components of a healthy lifestyle.

Modern Hearing Aids Are Highly Advanced

Today’s hearing aids are discreet and technologically advanced. Options include invisible in-ear models and devices with digital signal processing tailored to individual needs. Upcoming FDA regulations will make affordable over-the-counter hearing aids available, though customized solutions from audiologists will still offer the best fit.

Hearing Loss is Noticeable

Constantly asking others to repeat themselves makes hearing loss noticeable. Addressing your hearing issues can prevent associated problems and improve your quality of life with the latest technology.

Schedule Your Hearing Evaluation Today

If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing difficulties, contact Horan & Fevold Hearing Clinic to schedule a hearing evaluation. Our audiologists and hearing doctors in Moses Lake and Wenatchee are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal hearing health.

Horan & Fevold Hearing Clinic provides comprehensive hearing tests and personalized hearing aid solutions. Schedule am appointment with our audiologists or hearing doctors in Moses Lake or Wenatchee today.