It is not uncommon for people with untreated hearing loss to have a poorer quality of life in various areas. Those with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk for social anxiety, mental fatigue, depression, and many other conditions. Not to mention poor workplace performance as a result of any one or a combination of these.
A comprehensive scientific report from Professor Emerita Bridget Shield, Brunel University in London, with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton, Brunel University, London, shows us that hearing aid users earn significantly more than non-users. As the severity of the hearing loss increases between the two groups, the differential increases between them as well. It has also been found that there is twice the unemployment rate for non-users of hearing aids, and people with hearing loss earn significantly less, on average, than those with normal hearing. This information is documented in the Shield and Atherton report, “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs.”
Many people have reported that their quality of life has significantly improved and that hearing aids, or other hearing solutions like cochlear implants, has positively affected their overall health. They report less physical and mental exhaustion, better sleep, better memory, and less depression than their counterparts who do not use hearing aids.
There is evidence in the Shield and Atherton Report that people with untreated hearing loss earn significantly less, on average, than those with normal hearing. They tend to hold fewer demanding jobs or retire earlier than people with normal hearing. People with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to be experience higher unemployment rates, too.
One way to know the status of your hearing health is to make an appointment with us at Audiology Associates of Redding. It can be quite easy to incorporate a hearing exam or screening into your annual health checkup.
COST TO SOCIETY
The report considers the larger societal costs of untreated hearing loss and the findings are impactful. Untreated hearing loss means lost productivity, economic losses due to lower quality of life, and an increased burden on social benefits such as unemployment benefits and pensions. Professors Shields and Atherton also consider the increased health care costs due to medical conditions such as depression and cognitive decline that often accompany untreated hearing loss, and more hospital visits overall.
“Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs” found that untreated disabling hearing loss in the EU costs €185 billion each year. The World Health Organization defines disabling hearing loss as greater than 40 dB in the better hearing ear. Higher unemployment rates, and therefore, lost productivity, cost €55 billion in the EU and a lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss costs the EU €130 billion each year. When one takes the increased health care costs associated with hospital visits due to comorbidities of untreated hearing loss into consideration, the total likely must one amended.
QUALITY OF LIFE
As stated above, untreated hearing loss can have a profound effect on your quality of life. The greater the severity of hearing loss, the greater the loss in quality of life you are likely to experience. The report shows the connection between the two and demonstrates that hearing loss has more of an impact on quality of life than many other chronic conditions, such as vision impairments, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
There are many negative physical, mental, and social repercussions—called comorbidities—that can accompany untreated hearing loss. They can lead to social isolation and loneliness, which can in turn lead to depression. They can also have various effects on family and personal relationships. Hardships like strained conversations, impatience, and frustration with repetition, to name a few, can lead to eventual withdrawal. Untreated hearing loss can also influence your physical health and well-being and lead to reduced physical activity. These indicators all suggest that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to have other chronic medical conditions than people with normal hearing.
AUDIOLOGY ASSOCIATES OF REDDING
As you move forward into the new year with goals of becoming the best version of yourself, in all areas of your life, remember that your health and well-being are paramount to helping you achieve those goals.
At Audiology Associates of Redding, we can help you care for your hearing health as you do for your overall health. Contact us to learn more!