Why are Hearing Aids Important?
Why should you get hearing aids? It’s simple — your hearing loss is a medical issue that needs to be treated. Not convinced? Neither are the astounding 80 percent of people that have hearing loss yet do not receive treatment. Maybe they need a more compelling answer:
First, how do we hear?
Ears give the brain access to the sounds of the world. The ear is a complex network of parts that translate sound-wave patterns — or timing, volume, and pitch cues — into neural impulses that our brains can analyze. When everything is running smoothly, our brain is receiving input from our ears to process sounds even when we aren’t actively listening. Even now, you have been effortlessly listening to sounds around you — the hum of lights, the whoosh of traffic, the squeak of the patio door. This steady stream of sound keeps your brain working nonstop. When you’re in the kitchen with the music low, knife tapping the cutting board, news playing on the television and your spouse striking up a conversation, your brain constructs this entire auditory scene seamlessly.
Now introduce a hearing loss…
As you can imagine, hearing loss is not merely a loss of volume or clarity of sound. The ear loses its ability to function normally; therefore the sound-wave patterns to be delivered to the brain cannot be coded correctly or, in some cases, cannot be coded at all. The brain is no longer receiving a steady stream of sound and is not working as hard. Although you may have not listened to those sounds before, now you can’t even hear them. When you’re in the kitchen with the music low, knife tapping the cutting board, news playing on the television and your spouse striking up a conversation, your brain is unable to construct the entire auditory scene. So you turn down the music, stop cutting the vegetables, mute the TV, and ask your spouse to repeat what was said.
This is where the struggle begins and why hearing aids are important.
Hearing aids are used to treat hearing loss.
Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. When the ears are not functioning normally, hearing aids work to process sound-wave patterns and send the processed signal to the brain. Through the use of hearing aids your brain is able to receive the stimulation necessary to continue working nonstop. What happens if you don’t treat your hearing loss?
- A mild hearing loss makes you twice as likely to develop dementia.
- A moderate hearing loss makes you three times as likely to develop dementia.
- A severe hearing loss makes you five times as likely to develop dementia.
- You are at a higher risk for social isolation and withdrawal, often leading to depression.
- You are at a higher risk of feeling anxiety, stress, and excessive fatigue.
- You have an increased risk for high blood pressure.
- You increase your risk of falling.
- Untreated hearing loss can cause as much as a $30,000-a-year decline in household income.
- You are at risk of putting your family and friends under undue stress and frustration.
These risks are not independent. Rather, the negative medical, social, emotional, psychological and financial implications of untreated hearing loss compound each other and go far beyond just a hearing loss.
Let’s readdress our initial question: Why should you get hearing aids? The answer is simple and compelling—your hearing loss is a medical issue and needs to be treated.
For more information on the benefits of hearing aid use and the implications of untreated hearing loss, please contact Arizona Hearing Center for an appointment by phone at 602.313.1243 or by email at [email protected]
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