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Hearing loss is very individual. That’s why a specialized exam is necessary to determine the degree of loss you may have. The typical test for hearing loss consists of listening to a range of tones presented to each ear through earphones. Your perceived loudness levels of these tones — as measured in decibels (dB) — are recorded on a graph called an audiogram. Perhaps surprisingly, hearing isn’t described as an overall “percentage of loss,” but as the inability to hear a range of different frequencies. That's why any two people with hearing loss will have very different experiences and needs. "Frequency" is an important measurement in hearing, quantifying the pitch of sounds from very low (like thunder) to very high (like a squeak or whistle). People often experience hearing loss at different frequencies — so even when people listen to a range of sounds at exactly the same volume, they hear them quite differently, or may not be able to hear some of them at all. In order to determine the degree of a person’s hearing loss, a hearing care professional can perform threshold testing to determine the lowest dB level at which you can hear a tone in a particular frequency range. Your response to these different frequencies becomes your personal hearing diagnosis. There are four general degrees of hearing loss on an audiogram: Mild (26 – 40 dB HL threshold)  With mild hearing loss, it’s difficult to hear soft speech or distinguish sounds when there is background noise, putting these listeners at a disadvantage in many everyday social and working situations. Moderate (41 – 70 dB HL threshold)  Moderate hearing loss makes it difficult to hear conversations, especially when there is background noise. The TV or radio volume may need to be turned up to be heard clearly. Following conversations takes more effort and may leave you feeling especially tired at the end of the day. Severe (71 – 90 dB HL threshold) With severe hearing loss, normal conversations are not audible. Even louder than normal speech may be difficult to hear or understand. People with severe hearing loss are only able to hear speech when it is amplified — by shouting, turning up the volume, or with the assistance of high-power hearing aids. Social isolation can be a real  concern for this population. Profound (91 dB HL or higher threshold) People with profound hearing loss may have difficulty understanding even amplified speech. They may avoid conversations and become extremely isolated in both personal and professional situations. This can be devastating if unaddressed. If you have concerns about your own hearing loss, or that of a loved one, you should consider a hearing check-up and evaluation. There are modern hearing aid solutions available for mild to severe to profound hearing losses. These solutions are powerful, discreet and filled with technology that delivers clear, natural sound, while automatically suppressing the background noise that interferes with speech understanding. There's no need to suffer in silence and isolation. Today, advanced and innovative technology can meet a wide variety of challenges that may accompany hearing loss. We can put your mind at ease and help you find a hearing solution  that best fits your hearing loss and lifestyle by conducting a hearing test to pinpoint the degree and characteristics of your own hearing loss....

Hearing loss doesn't only happen late in life. While it is true that more than 1 in 3 Americans over the age of 65 have some hearing loss1 it can occur at any age and for a number of reasons. Specialists diagnose hearing loss using the following categories: Conductive hearing loss results from disorders in the outer or middle ear. Sounds can’t reach the inner ear, so they sound faint and/or distorted. Common causes for conductive hearing loss may include wax build-up, infection, fluid in the middle ear, foreign objects in the ear canal, or a perforated eardrum. Medical procedures can usually treat conductive loss successfully and provide complete or partial hearing restoration. Sensorineural hearing loss happens when damage occurs to the tiny, hair-like cells of the inner ear that send signals to the brain, or if there is damage to the auditory nerve itself. With this type of loss, sounds do not seem clear. Because the tiny, hair-like cells within the cochlea naturally diminish over time, this is the most common type of hearing loss associated with aging (more on this below). However, sensorineural hearing loss may also result from injury, exposure to loud noises, certain medications and a variety of diseases. Regardless of the cause, sensorineural hearing loss can often be successfully treated with hearing aids. In addition, specialists further categorize this type of hearing loss by how rapidly it occurs: Sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or sudden deafness, is a rapid loss of hearing. It can happen almost instantaneously, or over a period of a few days. It should be considered a medical emergency. If you or someone you know experiences this kind of hearing loss, visit a doctor immediately. Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, happens gradually as a person ages. It may run in families and may be caused by changes in the inner ear and auditory nerve. Presbycusis may make it hard for a person to tolerate loud sounds or to hear what others are saying. Age-related hearing loss usually occurs in both ears, and affects them equally. The loss is gradual, so people with presbycusis may not realize that they have lost some of their ability to hear. Unrecognized and untreated hearing problems can get worse and lead to complications, like cognitive challenges in aging patients2. That's why, if you or a loved one experience any kind of hearing loss, we can provide testing, evaluation, and the proper treatment for your kind of loss. REFERENCES: 1. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss 2. Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD; Kristine Yaffe, MD; Jin Xia, MS; et al. Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):293-299. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1868 ...

How do you know if hearing loss is affecting your life? The answer isn’t always as obvious as you might think. For many people, hearing loss happens so gradually that they continue to think their hearing is fine, even when it’s not. Millions of people around the world clean their ears with cotton swabs, cotton buds, and ear candles. These seemingly harmless devices aren’t as harmless as they seem. Most medical professionals, primary care and audiologist alike, will strongly warn you not to use them. From punctured eardrums to super-impacted earwax, medical disasters caused by do-it-yourself (DIY) ear cleaning methods are widespread. A sharp object vs. a delicate membrane Our eardrums are extremely delicate and can be ruptured easily just by putting a cotton swab in our ears — even with the lightest touch. While punctured eardrums can heal, it is not a pleasant experience and often very painful. And sometimes, it can lead to conductive hearing loss, which usually involves a reduction in sound level or the inability to hear faint sounds at all. Also, if you’ve ever used a cotton swab to clean your ears, you’ve most likely pushed much of the earwax back into your ear canal, and getting that out requires help from a medical professional. Actually, earwax can be a good thing That’s right, the canals in our ears have specialized cells that produce “cerumen” (aka earwax), which serves as protection for our ears, keeping dirt, dust, and water out of unsafe places. Cleaning out our ears completely means less protection and may cause dry skin that can lead to serious ear infections. And while some people accumulate more wax than others, using a cotton swab to rid yourself of excess wax will likely cause more harm than good. How to clean your ears safely A good cleaning to the outer ear every now and then has its benefits. A safe, at-home treatment for earwax blockage, as recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, is to try placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in your ear. This alternative is a safe way to achieve relief, and can also aid in the removal of wax.1  However, in most cases, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned. A wet washcloth, hot showers, or even washing our hair lets enough water into our ears to loosen any excess earwax, and the skin inside our ear canal grows in an outward spiral formation which allows our earwax to come out easily. Most of the time, earwax loosens enough to fall out on its own in our sleep. The truth is, nothing should be put inside your ears for self-cleaning. A serious cleaning requires professional skills But for those people who do have heavy wax buildup or need a serious ear cleaning, the safest way to ensure your ears are at their cleanest is to consult a hearing care professional or other physician. Using an otoscope, a lighted device that assists in looking deeply into your ear canal, these specialists can assess your situation and determine the best course of action for your hearing health. Most often, your doctor can easily remove wax in a quick, effective, and pain-free manner. Do you have concerns about your earwax buildup? Come in for a hearing checkup. We can inspect your ears, evaluate your hearing, and provide further treatment, if necessary. References: American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery website: Experts Update Best Practices for Diagnosis and Treatment of Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) Important Patient Education on Healthy Ear Care, January 3, 2017. ...

How do you know if hearing loss is affecting your life? The answer isn’t always as obvious as you might think. For many people, hearing loss happens so gradually that they continue to think their hearing is fine, even when it’s not. Regular checkups are the best way to know the condition of your hearing health. If you haven’t had a professional exam in a while, come in to our office for an evaluation. To prepare for your appointment, we urge you to think about any signs of hearing loss you might recognize on your own. If you answer yes to any of these questions, and recognize these conditions or cues, write them down and bring your list with you when you come in for your hearing test. They are some of the most common symptoms of hearing loss and will help us diagnose you and develop a treatment plan that works for your lifestyle: Do other people frequently complain that your TV or radio is too loud? Do you have difficulty focusing on conversations in noisy situations, like restaurants, malls, and meetings? Do you have difficulty following conversations involving two or more people? Do you have trouble understanding someone if you are not standing face-to-face? Do everyday sounds sometimes seem muffled? Do you have particular difficulty hearing women’s and children’s voices? Do you sometimes give unrelated answers or comments to questions and conversations? Do you sometimes have a ringing sensation in your ears? Hearing loss can be related to environmental and medical conditions. Do any of these apply to you? Exposure to loud sounds over a long period of time A single exposure to an explosive noise Diabetes, heart, circulatory, or thyroid conditions Family history of hearing loss Certain medications (ask your doctor or audiologist) There are also emotional signs that you are having hearing difficulties. Do any of these describe feelings you are having? Feeling stressed out when listening to someone Frustration that people mumble or don’t speak up Embarrassment about not following conversations Feeling nervous that you won’t understand something Avoiding social situations Not enjoying being with people as much as you used to You may be surprised to recognize some of these experiences and feelings as your own. If so, don’t be embarrassed — just get your hearing checked. Most people are pleased by how simple the diagnosis and treatment process can be and are delighted by what a difference it can make in their lives. Right now, there are tens of millions of Americans who could be helped by hearing aids.1You could be one of them. So write down the symptoms, conditions, or cues above that have become part of your life, and get your hearing tested. If it turns out you do have hearing loss, we’ll discuss the available options to improve your overall hearing, your speech comprehension, your emotional connections to friends and family, and your enjoyment of the sounds of everyday life. Complete your list and set up an appointment with us today. You have nothing to lose and so much life to gain. References: 1. NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program, based on December 2015 Census Bureau estimates of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population, personal communication; May 2016....

If you’ve recently decided that your hearing health needs attention, the first thing to know is that you’re not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), almost 40 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss.1 Fortunately, there’s a lot of help out there. Almost 30 million U.S. adults with hearing loss could benefit from using hearing aids, and you could be one of them.2 Today’s hearing aids are digital marvels, smart devices that deliver natural sound while reducing noise automatically, and can provide wireless connectivity to the world of online streaming and entertainment. So to get you started on your journey to better hearing, here are three steps you should take now: 1. Educate Yourself  We encourage you to visit the National Institutes of Health website on hearing and hearing disorders, where you will find all kinds of information to help you better understand how hearing works and how the types and degrees of hearing loss may relate to you. You should also check out the Hearing Loss Association of America for more support along your journey. Besides online research, talk to people you know who have hearing loss — when you start asking around, you may find there are more than you think, and many are willing to share their experiences with you. 2. Make an Appointment For an Evaluation Hearing care professionals specialize in hearing disorders. Once we test your hearing and analyze your situation, we will work with you to come up with a treatment option that will best suit your hearing needs and your lifestyle. Why a hearing specialist? An Audiologist or other hearing care professional can test your hearing andrecommend a hearing aid solution. We are licensed, highly skilled, and trained to give you personalized attention and service. 3. Prepare for Your Visit  Once you have an appointment scheduled, prepare yourself with information about your lifestyle and current hearing situations and be open to discussing these with your provider. • Start with a list of common situations where hearing is difficult for you. This reveals details about your hearing loss and your lifestyle, and is very helpful in determining the right solution for your hearing condition. • List your top concerns. Are you frustrated in certain situations? Nervous to try hearing aids? Self-conscious about your hearing? Concerned about costs or appearance? Sharing your concerns can help us identify the best solution for your lifestyle. • As you learn, keep an open mind. You might be surprised at how many possibilities are available. Be prepared to embrace the changes ahead of you so you can more fully participate in conversations and enjoy the sounds of everyday life. A final thought: bringing a relative or a good friend with you can give you another perspective on your hearing and provide a sounding board for discussing your results after the appointment. Remember, start by educating yourself at the websites mentioned above. Talk to friends who have hearing loss. Make an appointment to come in and see us. Write down the issues, concerns, and questions you would like to ask at your appointment. Now you’re well on your way to making better hearing part of your life. REFERENCES: 1 NIDCD Website: Blackwell DL, Lucas JW, Clarke TC. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012(PDF). National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(260). 2014. 2 NIDCD: Epidemiology and Statistics Program, based on December 2015 Census Bureau estimates of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population, personal communication; May 2016...

No matter where you work, communication is key to doing your job well. Although we are living and working in the digital age, the most popular form of communication, by a wide margin, is still face-to-face verbal communication. It is also the most recommended method of communication for people with hearing loss. According to a 2018 report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, in-person verbal communications were favored by 49% of employees at US companies. The second most favored form of communication was email, far behind at 11%. When respondents were asked to pick their top three forms of communication, in-person conversations were again first at 71%; telephone conversations were next at 63%; and emails were third at 37%. By contrast, text messaging was far behind at 15%.1  We're not as digital as we think we are. Not only is face-to-face communication still preferred, effective listening and speaking skills could be key to economic success. According to a study by the Better Hearing Institute, people with unaided hearing loss earned an average of $20,000 less annually than those who wore hearing aids.2 For those with hearing loss, hearing device technology is one way to help maximize earning potential. However, learning effective listening and speaking skills will also contribute to improved overall workplace performance for those with, and without, hearing loss. Here are some simple tips that can help improve workplace communication for everyone; for people with hearing loss, they are especially critical. Be aware of your body language. During face-to-face meetings, your facial expressions, hand gestures, and body posture convey information, whether you are aware of it or not. For example, a person leaning forward in their chair is seen as relaxed and ready to listen whereas a person with their legs and arms crossed is generally viewed as detached and often defensive. Make eye contact. This shows the speaker that you are actively involved in the discussion. When you are the speaker, eye contact helps keep your audience engaged. Allow time for questions before moving on to the next topic. Provide a summary at the end of each agenda item, as well as at the end of the meeting, to reinforce key information. When appropriate, after a group or one-on-one meeting, send a quick recap of decisions and next steps via email to all attendees with a request for comments. This helps to ensure that what was said, and what was decided, was understood by all. Use "active listening" techniques. Active listening requires that you concentrate, understand, respond, and remember what was said. While passive listeners may be able to repeat the speaker's words, active listeners can repeat what was said in their own words. There are significant differences in comprehension and retention. These four tips focus on speaking and listening behaviors for improved face-to-face communications. But untreated hearing loss makes personal communications in the workplace even more difficult. If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, call us to schedule a hearing screening. References: 1Communication barriers in the modern workplace. The Economist Intelligence Unit. Kevin Plumberg, Editor. http://perspectives.eiu.com/sites/default/files/EIU_Lucidchart-Communication%20barriers%20in%20the%20modern%20workplace.pdf. Published online March 26, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2018. 2Clason, D. Hearing loss in the workplace.Healthy Hearing website. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52738-Hearing-loss-in-the-workplace. PublishedonlineMarch 17, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2018....

Exercise is good for your health. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for adults to improve cardiovascular (CV) fitness.1 We all know regular exercise is good for your heart, but did you know it’s also good for your hearing health? Put more oxygen in your blood and help your ears and brain CV fitness increases the level of oxygen in the blood feeding your entire circulatory system, even the tiniest capillaries. With respect to hearing, it improves the performance of the ear, which senses sound, and the brain, which processes sound. The Ear: the sense organ Researchers believe cardiovascular fitness contributes to better neural functioning in the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, especially the sensory outer hair cells. A good cardio workout brings ample supplies of oxygen-rich blood to all the detailed structures and bones of the inner ear. Regular workouts "train" your ears to function better. There is also a theory that people who have a high level of cardiovascular fitness may face decreased auditory damage from noise pollution, certain medications, and disease because their ears have become "stronger" (higher functioning) to begin with.2 The Brain: the processing organ Improved blood flow to the brain also aids in hearing. Much of what we “hear” happens when our brains translate sound waves into meaning. This is called auditory processing. A brain “on exercise” can better sort and identify the sounds we hear. Hearing health is not simply the ability to hear better, but to better process what is heard. Many studies confirm improved aerobic fitness boosts cognitive processing speed, motor function, and visual and auditory attention. Highly oxygenated blood is good for your brain; poorly oxygenated blood, tainted with excessive cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar, risks your health in many ways, including your hearing. Good exercises for hearing Just keep moving: any prolonged low-impact exercise that raises your pulse and respiratory rate for 20-30 minutes is aerobic and CV-beneficial. Walking, running, biking, dancing, rowing, skiing, and swimming are among the most popular aerobic activities. Exercises that start and stop, like weight and resistance training, have health benefits and may build muscle mass, but their positive impact on long-term health comes in combination with aerobics. If you prefer weight and resistance training, do them in addition to your 20-30 minutes of aerobics. Why not warm up on a stationary bike before starting resistance training or playing sports? Beyond your dedicated exercise regimen, there are things you can do to improve your lifestyle. It sounds obvious, but simply walking more is a small change that can really add up. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or pick the parking space farthest from the door when driving to work or going out for errands to walk the extra hundred yards each way. Exercising with ear buds: follow the safety guidelines Many people like to exercise to music. But excessive sound pressure levels can cause permanent damage to your ears, undoing all the good your workout is doing. The risk of permanent hearing loss increases with just five minutes of exposure a day at full volume. According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you use earbuds (in-ear headphones), don't listen more than 1.5 hours per day at 80 percent volume or less. You can safely increase to approximately 4.5 hours per day, if you decrease to 70 percent volume or less.3 Balance a safe volume level with a safe duration. These rules also apply to traditional headphones. What's good for your heart is good for your hearing The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that age-related hearing loss affects 1 in 3 Americans over 65; almost half of those over 75 have hearing difficulties.4 With the exception of genetically based hearing loss, in most cases, maintaining cardiovascular fitness will help maintain your hearing as well. Whether your hearing is excellent, or you've experienced some hearing loss, maintain the best hearing you can by improving your overall CV fitness. Talk to a professional about any concerns you have about hearing loss. If it's close enough, maybe you can even walk to your appointment.   References: 1DHHS. Surgeon General’s website. https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/active-living.html. Accessed July 9, 2018. 2Alessio HM, Hutchinson Marron K.  Fitness and better hearing. In: Carmen RE, ed. The Consumer Handbook on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids: A Bridge to Healing. 4th ed. Sedona, Arizona: Aurical Ink Publishers; 2014.  3Cleveland Clinic Safety Guide. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/headphone-and-ear-bud-use-safety-guide/. Published February 13, 2014. Accessed July 9, 2018. 4National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders website. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss#1. Updated June 29, 2017. Accessed July 9, 2018.  ...

Hearing loss not only affects the life of the patient, but also the lives of those around them, particularly their romantic partners. However, with a positive attitude, the right communication strategies, and attention to the right hearing aid solution, couples can overcome the challenges of hearing loss and move forward into the future closer than ever. Stay Social We all desire intimate connections with others. For a romantic partner, this connection is often built upon shared activities and functions. A study by Action on Hearing Loss found that when one person in a relationship had hearing loss, the couples' participation in social activities lessened.1 Though it may be understandable that these couples shy away from their usual social activities and circles, taking the right steps can help those with hearing loss to feel confident in those settings once again. Whether it’s a get-together with family and friends, or a night out at the movies, background noise and anxiety can be reduced by today's advanced noise-reduction technology, making it easier for couples to focus on one another again. Share Household Tasks While dividing household tasks can be difficult for all couples, hearing loss may make this a bit trickier, as it may call for a temporary transfer of established responsibilities. One partner can show support by taking on tasks that may initially cause stress or anxiety for their significant other—like calling the bank or interacting with others at the grocery store—until a comfort level to communicating with a new hearing aid is achieved. Those with hearing loss who are still getting used to today's more effective hearing aids can reciprocate by taking on the chores they feel more comfortable doing. Through practice, patience, improved hearing, and better speech intelligibility, couples can work toward getting back to their familiar routines. Provide Support If a loved one is struggling with hearing loss, it’s only natural that their partner may be worried about situations that depend on one’s ability to hear. Things like smoke alarms, spoken warnings, or traffic sounds on the road can raise safety concerns. This worry is normal. With appropriate education and counseling, along with readily available technology, partners can encourage and support their loved ones to maintain their much-needed independence, and give both partners peace of mind. Communication is Key The key to maintaining a deep connection with your significant other, throughout the challenges hearing loss may bring, lies in positive communication. For couples to support one another, it’s recommended that partners take an active role in appointments with a hearing care professional.1 Sharing in these visits will give partners a better understanding of their significant other's difficulties, and what can be done about them. Fortunately, today's hearing aids not only amplify sound and reduce background noise better than ever, but improve speech intelligibility as well. So, if you have an older device, you may benefit dramatically from a technology upgrade. Start on the road to better communication—for you and your significant other.   References: Echalier, M. In it together: the impact of hearing loss on personal relationships. Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People, RNID). London, UK; 2010. https://idainstitute.com/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/In%20It%20Together%20-%20Impact%20on%20Personal%20Relationships.pdf....

The last ten years have brought about significant improvements in hearing aids, thank goodness.  Gone are the tan, clunky analog models incapable of the finesse needed to separate speech signals from useless background noise.  Today’s hearing aids rely on digital platforms with programming flexibility for better personalization and the added benefit of being lighter, smaller and sleeker. The digital age opened the door for the current round of amazing features of the modern hearing aid including signal amplification for clearer calls and advanced speech recognition bolstered by directional microphones and high-speed processing. Like all things in our digital age, modern hearing aids can, of course, be linked to a smartphone.  Similar to using a Bluetooth, the smartphone can send audio directly to a hearing aid.  There’s also an app to allow the phone to act as a specialized remote to eliminate the traditional around-the-neck remote.  Subtle volume adjustments can be made right from the phone. Another benefit to the smartphone-aided hearing aid is that the phone can become a microphone to mitigate the challenges presented by multiple conversations in a busy setting, like a crowded restaurant.  The phone can be placed in front of the person speaking and the conversation can flow easily over pasta and wine. A smartphone’s tracking and analytics capabilities can also be leveraged by a hearing aid wearer to maximize the wireless hearing aid experience.  A lost hearing aid can be located if it’s within a reasonable distance.  If it’s not close, or if the battery has died, the phone can tell you the GPS coordinates of the hearing aid’s last location.  On the analytics side, the phone keeps records of hearing aid usage and adjustments that can then be shared with a hearing healthcare provider to help craft custom treatment plans. How much technology to use is a personal decision made across several buying platforms like TVs, computers, and household appliances to name just a few.  More high-tech usually means higher pricing and faster battery drain and that is true with hearing aids, too.  Another consideration is the relationship you have with your smartphone.  If you are an active smartphone user and have your phone with you constantly, smartphone-enabled hearing aids may seamlessly fit in with your lifestyle.  However, if you use your smartphone occasionally, or only for emergencies, there are better choices for you. When researching options, make sure to ask about these features: Telecoil Technology – Telecoils are wireless antenna available in most hearing aids.  They can link into sound systems for more amplified sound. Background Noise Suppression – Since background noise is a lower frequency sound it can be separated and suppressed. Directional Microphones – More focused than a traditional omnidirectional microphone, a directional microphone is sensitive to sound coming from the area directly in front of it. It’s a hyper-connected world and you can enhance your connection to the things that matter to you with proper hearing healthcare.  Schedule a hearing evaluation today to get started....

It is estimated that approximately 37 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss.  Many of those 37 million are untreated.  It may be for financial reasons, a reluctance to receive treatment, a fear of doctors or other personal reasons, but the truth is it can be a bigger problem than it may appear to be.  Living with more limited hearing may seem like a simple choice between the normal volume on the TV and turning it up a few notches, but left untreated, hearing loss can have much more serious consequences than missing some of the conversation. As research findings on hearing problems and their link to quality of life continue to grow, many common themes are coming to light showing just how problematic untreated hearing loss can be.  Here are three ways untreated hearing loss can hurt your health: Less Social Interaction It’s no secret these days that social interaction can play a positive role in health.  Studies have shown that quality relationships can help reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, and even reduce your risk of death.  Relationships are often cited as the most important thing for happiness.  Unfortunately, hearing loss can have a negative impact on these relationships, especially when that loss goes untreated.  Sometimes it’s a breakdown in communication within relationships, sometimes an avoidance of social situations for fear of confusion or appearing rude, but withdrawing from those quality relationships can damage health now and down the road. Increased Risk of Depression With less social interaction and increased isolation due to hearing loss, there is believed to be a higher risk of mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.  According to one report on the Consequences of Uncorrected Hearing Loss, “Several studies have shown that uncorrected hearing loss gives rise to poorer quality of life, related to isolation, reduced social activity, and a feeling of being excluded, leading to an increased prevalence of symptoms of depression.”  As hearing problems continue to go untreated, these feelings can compound increasing the risk of physical health problems too. Cognitive Decline Some of the most interesting research into untreated hearing loss in recent years has been its impact on the brain.  It is believed that the negative effects are two-fold: When there is hearing loss, the brain must work harder to listen.  According to research findings, this increased effort requires extra resources from the brain, leaving less for other cognitive functions. While the cause is not yet fully understood and may be related to the harder working brain, some research is pointing to a link between untreated hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia. It’s hard to deny that hearing loss, when left untreated, can pose serious consequences to overall health beyond less clarity of sound. If you believe you or someone you know is affected by hearing loss, seek treatment to help prevent physical and mental concerns in the future.  Work with an audiologist to find the best solutions for your needs.  Discuss the best hearing aids to help improve your quality of life. Don’t let hearing loss impair your health!...

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