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

But in combination with the strain this places on relationships, there are additional, hidden consequences of untreated hearing loss that are not as conspicuous but more concerning.

The following are six potential 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. Ordinary household sounds continue to fade as your personal world of sound narrows.

2. Anxiety and depression

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

Hearing loss can lead to impaired relationships, stress and anxiety, social isolation, and ultimately depression. Hearing loss can be stressful and embarrassing and can have significant emotional effects.

3. Cognitive decline

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

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

4. Listening fatigue

Listening requires energy and effort, and when you fight to hear certain words or have to continuously fill in the blanks, the additional hassle is tiring. Those with hearing loss report higher levels of fatigue at the days end, in particular after extended meetings or group activities.

5. Reduced work performance

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

The results make good sense. Hearing loss can result in communication issues and mistakes at work, limiting productivity, promotions, and in some cases taking people out of the job market.

6. Safety concerns

Those with hearing loss can fail to hear alarms, sirens, or other signals to potentially threatening conditions. 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 likelihood of falling increased as hearing loss became worse.

The truth is hearing loss is not just a mild inconvenience—it has a multitude of physical, mental, and social side effects that can significantly reduce an individual’s all-around quality of life. But the good news is that it’s virtually all avoidable.

All of the consequences we just discussed are the product of diminished sound stimulation to the brain. Modern hearing aids, while not able to restore hearing completely to normal, nevertheless can produce the amplification necessary to avert 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 constantly struggling, and take pleasure in the sounds they’ve been missing for years.

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