Age-related hearing loss is quite common. One in three adults over 65 have hearing loss, and half of adults over 75 have hearing loss. We tend to think of hearing loss as a normal part of aging. But this overlooks a serious risk: that untreated hearing loss can lead to other health issues.
Hearing Loss and Reduced Physical Activity
A recent study looked at how hearing loss affects physical activity and mobility. Published in 2021, this research looked at activity levels in adults aged 60 to 69. They collected data from 291 participants, including a questionnaire about physical activity, and a full hearing test.
They found that hearing loss was linked to less physical activity, including moderate activity and even light physical activity. Hearing loss leads to more sedentary behavior, along with more rapid physical declines. This can include having a harder time staying mobile, getting out of the house, or even performing daily tasks. Hearing loss is linked to poor balance and slower walking speed.
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
Untreated hearing loss is also linked to cognitive decline. A study by Dr. Frank Lin collected data from nearly 2,000 older adults. They followed up with each participant after six years, performing another hearing test and doing more cognitive tests.
They found that older adults with untreated hearing loss were 24% more likely to have cognitive impairment or rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss can speed up cognitive decline, and even increase the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Hearing loss is also closely linked to loneliness and social isolation. Hearing loss can be a very isolating experience. It makes it more difficult to talk to friends and connect with loved ones. It can also lead to social isolation.
A study from 2014 found that older adults aged 60 to 84 were far more likely to feel lonely and isolated if they had hearing loss. And what’s more, adults with more severe hearing loss were even more likely to feel socially isolated.
Treating Hearing Loss Can Help Prevent Other Issues
By looking at the studies, it’s pretty clear that hearing loss can have some major consequences beyond having a hard time hearing. Hearing loss may be common among older adults, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. In fact, treating hearing loss can help prevent other health issues.
Hearing Aids Maintain Physical Activity
When you wear hearing aids that match your unique hearing needs, you’ll have an easy time hearing all the sounds around you. You’ll feel safe when you step out the door, hearing all the sounds in your environment, and localizing where sounds are coming from. You’ll have better balance, and feel more confident when you’re physically active. Maintaining your activity levels as you age helps you maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Hearing Aids Slow Cognitive Decline
When you wear hearing aids to treat hearing loss, you’ll slow cognitive decline. You won’t use a lot of energy straining to hear or use all your energy just trying to make out what’s been said. You’ll be able to keep up with the events you enjoy and give your brain the right kind of exercise to stay healthy.
Hearing Aids Keep You Social
When you’re able to follow conversations, and catch the punchline of every joke, it’s easy to stay social. If you have untreated hearing loss, you may have felt embarrassed when you don’t hear what’s being said, or when you ask someone to repeat themselves. Hearing aids make it easy to hear, even in places with background noise. Hearing aids keep you social. You’ll easily maintain your close relationships. You’ll enjoy going to social events and even making new connections.
Book a Hearing Test
Are you ready to treat your hearing loss? It all starts with a hearing test. Find out more about your hearing health and your hearing needs with our team at My Hearing Centers. We’ll help you find the perfect hearing aids to treat your hearing loss. These devices can help you stay more physically and socially active, as well as slowing cognitive decline. Come find your favorite hearing aids today.