Hearing Loss Could Restrict Mobility & Quality of Life

Hearing Loss Could Restrict Mobility & Quality of Life

Bary E. Williams Au.D. Uncategorized

Hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the US, affecting 48 million Americans. Not only does hearing loss affect your ears, but many aspects of your social life, physical health and mental health. 

Hearing happens as a cooperative effort between your ears and your brain. When your brain cannot receive sound information it struggles to fill in the gaps. This takes brainpower away from other important tasks that keep you healthy, happy and safe, seriously affecting your mobility.

The Effects of Hearing Loss on Everyday Life

Hearing loss permeates into every aspect of your life. For instance, when you struggle to hear the relationships at home and work become strained. Constant misunderstanding between you and your significant lead to greater instances of conflict and even divorce. At work, employers tend to pass those with hearing loss over for new hires and promotions. Sadly, the average employee with untreated hearing loss earns $11K less than their peers (with normal hearing or those who treat their hearing loss) every year. 

Mental health and hearing loss

Not only does this affect your hearing but your confidence. People with untreated hearing loss can often struggle with anxiety, depression and social isolation due to the lack of success in social interactions. When people self isolate they are often underwhelmed, not creating healthy challenges for the brain. The brain is like a muscle and must be constantly stimulated to continue to be quick and healthy. Lack of stimulation can lead to brain atrophy and has even been linked to a higher risk of dementia.

Hearing loss and physical safety

It’s important to stay physically active no matter our age. When we exercise regularly our mental and physical health has a chance to be optimal. Hearing loss not only erodes our confidence but makes us less likely to go out, stay active and be independent. Hearing loss puts us at higher risks of falls, accidents and hospitalization. This is because hearing loss makes us less aware of our environment. We may miss warning calls, alarms and objects approaching from behind.

 Research shows that seniors with hearing loss experience limited mobility 

Age related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss, affecting 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 and 1 in 2 of those over 75 years old. A 2015 study published in Journal of Gerontology (2016) and BMC Geriatrics (2015), explored how the mobility of Finish senior citizens were affected due to hearing loss. The study from the University of Jyvaskyla and the University of Tampere was titled “the movement of older people often is negatively affected as a result of their hearing loss.” The study explored the reasons why this was the case and found that ultimately this could lead to a lower quality of life. 

The study monitored the behavior of 848 people in the age range of 75 to 90 years of age over two years and observed that seniors who struggled with hearing were twice as likely to limit mobility to a smaller area than those with healthy hearing. The study confirmed what researchers suspected. 

“For example, a person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may be affected by everyday functioning,” says one of the study’s researchers, doctoral student Hannele Polku. “On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one’s own doesn’t experience the same number of problems due to a change of similar degree in hearing.”

Identifying & Treating Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is an invisible condition. Your loved ones may suggest that you have a problem with hearing loss, but it is up to you to admit your condition and take the steps to deal with your hearing loss. While there is no way to reverse the effects of hearing loss it can be treated very effectively with hearing aids. 

Hearing aids amplify the sounds and tones that your ear can no longer receive and send it to your ear canal. Your brain won’t have to struggle to comprehend your world, leaving you time to focus on other things. People who use hearing aids often regain their confidence, heal their relationships and regain their sense of independence. Contact us today so we can help you find the best hearing aids to help you stay active, happy and healthy for years to come.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.