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The thing about hearing loss is that it’s easy to brush off. You can deny it for years, compensating for poor hearing by turning up the volume on your TV or phone and pressuring people to repeat themselves.

But on top of the stress this places on relationships, there are additional, concealed effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as obvious but more concerning.

Below are six possible consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

Hearing loss can cause you to lose out on essential conversations and familiar sounds like birds chirping or the sound of rain on the rooftop. Common household sounds continuously fade as your private world of sound narrows.

2. Anxiety and depression

A study by the National Council on the Aging revealed that those with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less sociable in comparison to people who wore hearing aids.

Hearing loss can bring about damaged relationships, anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be upsetting and embarrassing and can have significant psychological effects.

3. Cognitive decline

Hearing loss can impact your thinking and memory. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that those with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline 30-40 percent faster than people with normal hearing.

The rate of decline depends on the extent of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss developed considerable impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing.

4. Mental exhaustion

Listening requires effort, and when you fight to hear specific words or have to constantly fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is exhausting. Individuals with hearing loss report greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, especially following long conferences or group activities.

5. Diminished work performance

The Better Hearing Institute found that, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households, hearing loss adversely influenced yearly household income by an average of as much as $12,000. The financial impact was directly related to the extent of hearing loss.

The results make sense. Hearing loss can cause communication problems and mistakes while at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.

6. Safety concerns

Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially dangerous scenarios. They’re also more likely to have a history of falling.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of falling. Those with mild hearing loss were just about three times more likely to have a history of falling and the likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.

The truth is hearing loss is not just a minimal inconvenience—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social effects that can substantially decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all avoidable.

Most of the consequences we just discussed are the result of reduced sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nonetheless can produce the amplification necessary to avoid most or all of these consequences.

That’s why most patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s performance. It enables them to easily understand speech, hear without continuously struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for years.

Don’t risk the consequences—test drive the new technology and find out for yourself how your life can improve.