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

But together with the strain this places on personal relationships, there are additional, concealed effects of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.

Below are six potential consequences of untreated hearing loss.

1. Missing out

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

2. Anxiety and depression

A study by the National Council on the Aging discovered that people with untreated hearing loss age 50 and older were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less social compared to people who used hearing aids.

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

3. Intellectual decline

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

The rate of decline depends on the intensity of hearing loss, but on average, those with hearing loss showed drastic impairment in cognitive ability 3.2 years faster than those with normal hearing.

4. Listening fatigue

Listening requires energy, and when you struggle to hear certain words or have to continually fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is exhausting. Those with hearing loss report greater levels of fatigue at the end of the day, particularly immediately after long conferences or group activities.

5. Diminished work performance

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

The findings make good sense. Hearing loss can cause communication issues and mistakes at work, limiting productiveness, promotions, and in some instances taking people out of the job market.

6. Safety concerns

People with hearing loss can fail to hear alarm systems, sirens, or other signals to potentially hazardous circumstances. They’re also more likely to experience falls.

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 chance of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.

The reality is hearing loss is not just a small annoyance—it has a variety of physical, mental, and social effects that can radically decrease an individual’s overall quality of life. But the good news is that it’s almost all preventable.

Most of the consequences we just reviewed are the product of depleted sound stimulation to the brain. Contemporary hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing entirely to normal, nevertheless can deliver the amplification necessary to prevent most or all of these consequences.

That’s why most patients are satisfied with their hearing aid’s overall performance. It allows them to effortlessly understand speech, hear without constantly struggling, and enjoy the sounds they’ve been missing for years.

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