Summertime brings many joyful activities, with perhaps the most anticipated event of the season being the 4th of July! The day is filled with cookouts, music, parades, parties and of course, fireworks (don’t forget ear protection if you are close to fireworks!). These memorable get-togethers, while fun, can come with a lot of noise! For those with hearing loss, environments such as these can be particularly challenging! Commonly, those with hearing loss have to depend on visual and social cues to gather context. To some degree, hearing loss can cause a loss of independence. However, when hearing loss is treated, hearing can be better regulated, and one can ease their dependence on others for visual, conversational, and environmental cues.

Studies have shown many times over that hearing loss is linked to depression, anxiety, and isolation. Additionally, hearing loss is related to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Though hearing aids cannot restore hearing or the ability to understand speech fully, they do help immensely! It is important to note that all hearing losses are not created equal. Results with hearing aids are dependent upon one’s type of hearing loss, speech recognition scores, and quality of hearing care provider. With this said, hearing aids have the ability to deliver more clarity, volume, directionality, and connectivity to the wearer, thereby reducing listening effort and reestablishing social connection. With better hearing, wearers can feel more confident engaging in conversations and activities again, and in turn, can mitigate the negative impacts of hearing loss on mental and cognitive health.

Additionally, hearing loss can affect safety. This is certainly a major concern where a person’s independence is concerned. Through years of research, the medical and audiological communities have proven that hearing loss is linked to a decrease in balance. In fact, the risk of falling increases by 3-fold! While the link is not completely understood, it is theorized that hearing loss negatively impacts spatial awareness as well as causes cognitive overexertion (due to increased listening effort), which has a detrimental effect on other brain functions such as balance. Thankfully, research has also shown outcomes in the reverse when hearing loss is treated! Of course, hearing aids cannot protect a wearer from every falling occurrence, but the research is clear; better hearing means better balance.

Hearing loss affects many aspects of life, including one’s independence to a certain extent. This can happen to various degrees from depending on others for visual and conversational cues to increased falling and mental health risks. By taking action, especially early on, the negative effects of hearing loss can be mitigated and a healthier, more independent quality of life can be achieved. If you or a loved one are struggling with hearing loss, or have questions about the effects of hearing loss, call our office today!

NW Oklahoma City: CALL 405-775-9875

SW Oklahoma City:  CALL 405-378-4165

Dr. Pam Matthews, Audiologist
Pro Hearing, LLC
9409 N May Avenue and 10404 S Pennsylvania Ave
Oklahoma City, OK