Audiologist, Dr. Amy Sarow, gives seven solid reasons you can share with your patients to help them understand the importance of hearing well.
We know that onset of hearing loss can be a gradual process, so by the time a patient realizes it’s happening (or has happened), their life and health may already be feeling the effects.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss my top 7 reasons to help your patients understand why earlier is better when it comes to aural rehabilitation.
Top 7 reasons to get hearing aids
- Improves communication abilities. Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with others, which impacts overall quality of life. Hearing aids can help your patients hear more clearly, which will improve their communication skills and allow them to participate in activities that they may have been avoiding. Getting treatment for hearing loss as soon as it is discovered will ensure quality of life isn’t impacted by communication difficulties.
- Promotes safety. Untreated hearing loss can put someone’s safety at risk, as it can make it difficult to hear things like sirens, approaching vehicles, or warning alarms. Hearing aids can alert them of changes in their environment and help keep them safe.
- Supports earnings. Untreated hearing loss can cause someone to both miss out on earning potential and cost more money in health expenses. Estimates speculate that employees lose on average $30,000 per year in annual salary potential with untreated hearing loss.1 Additionally, according to a recent study, those with untreated hearing loss will have an additional $22,434 in healthcare costs over ten years than patients with normal hearing.1 Investing in hearing aids could actually save money in the long term.
- Preserves memory. A recent study has shown that hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of dementia.2 The study found that those with hearing loss were 24% more likely to develop dementia over a period of six years than those without hearing loss.3 One theory regarding this relationship is that hearing loss causes changes in the brain which lead to dementia.4 Wearing hearing aids regularly can help make information much easier to understand, which can facilitate better neural encoding for improved memory function.
- Promotes social engagement. Those with hearing loss may find themselves withdrawing from social activities, as it becomes more and more difficult to communicate. This can lead to isolation and depression.5 Additionally, hearing loss can cause problems at work, as it becomes difficult to hear important instructions or colleagues. Wearing hearing aids improves communication abilities to help preserve social connections and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Reduces risk of falls. A John Hopkins study found that those with hearing loss were three times more likely to fall than those without hearing loss.6 The study found that hearing loss caused problems with balance and environmental awareness, both of which can lead to falls. For seniors, falls are the number one cause of death or injury.7 Treating hearing loss can lead to a longer, healthier life.
- Supports mental health. Research shows that untreated hearing loss can lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.8 One study found that those with sensorineural hearing loss were more likely to experience clinical depression and anxiety than those without hearing loss.9 Treating hearing loss can reduce effects on mental health and in so doing, even have an impact on sleep quality.
These are just a few reasons why treating hearing loss can improve quality of life. Hearing loss can have a cascade of effects on mental health, cognitive function, and even earning potential and healthcare expenses.
Helping patients understand the ways that hearing loss impacts their life, can lead to a discussion that brings positive change in their life.
We invite you to read a previous article on why linking well-hearing to well-being changes the way we talk about hearing healthcare in the clinic. Read the article here.
1. Kochkin, S. (2010). Marketrak VIII: The efficacy of hearing aids in achieving compensation equity in the Workplace. The Hearing Journal, 63(10), 19–24. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.hj.0000389923.80044.e6
2. Bisogno, A., Scarpa, A., Di Girolamo, S., De Luca, P., Cassandro, C., Viola, P., Ricciardiello, F., Greco, A., De Vincentiis, M., Ralli, M., & Di Stadio, A. (2021). Hearing loss and cognitive impairment: Epidemiology, common pathophysiological findings, and treatment considerations. Life, 11(10), 1102.
3. Lin, F. R., Yaffe, K., Xia, J., Xue, Q.-L., Harris, T. B., Purchase-Helzner, E., Satterfield, S., Ayonayon, H. N., Ferrucci, L., Simonsick, E. M., & Health ABC Study Group, for the. (2013). Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173(4), 293. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1868
4. Pereira-Jorge, M. R., Andrade, K. C., Palhano-Fontes, F. X., Diniz, P. R., Sturzbecher, M., Santos, A. C., & Araujo, D. B. (2018). Anatomical and functional MRI changes after one year of auditory rehabilitation with hearing aids. Neural Plasticity, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9303674
5. Li, C.-M., Zhang, X., Hoffman, H. J., Cotch, M. F., Themann, C. L., & Wilson, M. R. (2014). Hearing impairment associated with depression in US adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, 140(4), 293. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2014.42
6. Lin, H. W., Mahboubi, H., & Bhattacharyya, N. (2018). Self-reported hearing difficulty and risk of accidental injury in US adults, 2007 to 2015. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, 144(5), 413. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0039
7. Moreland B, Kakara R, Henry A. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018 (2020). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep; 69: 875–881. https://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6927a5external icon
8. Li, C.-M., Zhang, X., Hoffman, H. J., Cotch, M. F., Themann, C. L., & Wilson, M. R. (2014). Hearing impairment associated with depression in US adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, 140(4), 293. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2014.42
9. Jayakody, D. M. P., Almeida, O. P., Speelman, C. P., Bennett, R. J., Moyle, T. C., Yiannos, J. M., & Friedland, P. L. (2018). Association between speech and high-frequency hearing loss and depression, anxiety and stress in older adults. Maturitas, 110, 86–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2018.02.002