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7 ways treating hearing loss can help seniors feel young.

Byline: J. Curtis Watson, H.I.S., Hearing Instrument Specialist Advertiser generated content AccuQuest

Interestingly enough, the association many people make between hearing aids and feeling old is somewhat counterintuitive.

While age-related hearing loss certainly makes hearing aids in greater demand among seniors, these devices actually contribute to long-term health and revitalized feelings of independence.

Hearing aids make it possible for those experiencing mild to severe hearing loss to better interact and enjoy day-to-day functions.

Surprisingly, the majority of people that could benefit from hearing aids (65%) are under age 65 and that group is growing larger.

Additionally, according to the National Institutes of Health, only 16 percent of adults age 20 to 69 who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them.

However, these devices can make living with hearing loss significantly easier. Here are seven reasons that hearing aids can help seniors feel young:

1. Improved balance

According to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, those with just a mild hearing loss (25 decibels) are three times more likely to have a history of falling, and for every additional 10 decibels one's risk of falling goes up 1.4 times.

The scientists theorize that hearing loss may add to one's cognitive load, making it more challenging for the brain to focus on walking and balancing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that falls are the No. 1 cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. Do not let falling slow you down, or worse.

2. Take control of your social life

The National Council on Aging conducted a survey of 2,300 individuals with hearing loss age 50 or older and found that those who wear hearing aids are more likely to participate in social activities.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported improved feelings of self-confidence and 34 percent reported an improved social life.

Overall, a majority of hearing aid users and their families found that these devices bettered relations at home.

3. Maintain your cognitive function

Another study by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins University found that adults who wear hearing aids are less likely develop memory and thinking problems.

The team found that in general the severity of hearing loss directly correlates to problems in cognitive function, resulting in older adults with untreated hearing loss having significant cognitive impairment years sooner than those with normal hearing.

Overall, hearing aids can play an integral role in improving long-term cognitive function and helping retain one's memory and thinking abilities.

4. Stay sharp at work

A study published in Hearing Loss Magazine examining the effects of hearing loss in the workplace found clear and convincing evidence that the degree of hearing loss is directly related to compensation.

In fact, this research indicated that for those with the most severe hearing loss, wearing hearing aids versus not wearing hearing aids resulted in an average income differential of $31,000 per year.

Discouragingly, the study also found that even with the help of hearing aids, those with the most severe hearing loss make $11,000 less per year on average than colleagues with normal hearing.

5. Stay out of danger

Hearing impairment can put you at higher risk throughout the day of not being as alert to sirens, car horns and various alarms.

Imagine not waking up to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector or not being able to hear an ambulance approaching when you're on the road.

These types of scenarios can cause unnecessary risks for a person with hearing loss.

6. Better communication with loved ones

The previously mentioned survey by the National Council on Aging found that 40 percent of hearing aid users reported improved relationships with children and grandchildren.

Furthermore, hearing aid users can better communicate with a spouse to keep relations at home strong.

Make your loved ones a priority by addressing your hearing loss and bettering your hearing health.

7. Avoid depression

Numerous studies have linked hearing loss to depression, anxiety, social isolation and feelings of paranoia.

This correlation is relevant to many people with untreated hearing loss, regardless of gender or age. In general, hearing experts believe this link relates to those with untreated hearing loss not being able to communicate and socialize as easily, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.

Friends and family often notice hearing loss first, and then may start addressing a loved one differently, such as by speaking louder, slower or even in frustrated tones.

Unfortunately, this can add to feelings of paranoia and isolation. Seeking treatment allows a person experiencing hearing loss to address this issue head on.

If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Centers.
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Title Annotation:Real Estate
Author:J. Curtis Watson, H.I.S., Hearing Instrument Specialist Advertiser generated content AccuQuest
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Oct 12, 2019
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