Could hearing loss be a health epidemic? This may sound like a drastic characterization, but as the number of Americans with hearing loss swells, so do the costs of this diagnosis in more ways than one.
The costs of untreated hearing loss
Almost 38 million adults in the United States have some trouble hearing, and science is proving that hearing loss, specifically untreated hearing loss, is so much more complex than we once thought. It is not merely impaired hearing that can affect communication or make it harder to hear a conversation in crowded restaurants; it has been linked to a variety of concerns that each come with their own cost.
More and more studies are finding that the effects of untreated hearing loss are extensive. Here are just some of the connections researchers have seen in recent years. Decades of research and data analysis has shown that each of these is related to hearing loss though exactly how is not known in every case:
Increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia, cardiovascular disease, social isolation, anxiety and falls
Higher healthcare costs and the number of hospital readmissions
Also, the list is growing every day! Hearing loss can affect every aspect of your life from physical health to mental well-being and financial stability.
Treating hearing loss
The answer may seem simple at first glance, treat the hearing loss. However, if it were that easy why would so many still go untreated? Hearing aids are often the recommended treatment, and they are more powerful, discreet and natural than ever, but experts say barriers such as cost, self-consciousness and even denial about hearing loss prevent people from purchasing them.
Others who have been diagnosed and purchased hearing aids stop wearing them either because they find they aren’t as expected or they’re uncomfortable.
Taking a stand
Hearing loss has become one of the biggest threats to our well-being without us realizing it. Insurance and Medicare rarely cover the costs of treatment, millions of people living with hearing loss leave it untreated and the research into hearing loss’s shocking impact on our lives continues to grow, now even connecting it to premature death.
It’s up to each and every person to take a stand against this threat that has been discounted for too long. If you or someone you know have started having trouble hearing and find you’re missing some of the conversation:
Schedule a hearing evaluation to get a baseline hearing reading and receive recommendations to help prevent any further hearing loss.
If hearing aids are recommended, don’t put off purchasing them. Most hearing healthcare professionals offer a wide range of options both in hearing aids and affordable ways to purchase them.
Get regular checkups with your physician to uncover any related health issues and follow their recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.
Be patient when it comes to hearing aids. It takes time to adjust to hearing with these devices, even with all the advanced technology and bells and whistles. Your hearing healthcare professional can help you with adjustments both to programming and fit to ensure they are comfortable and working well.
If you have questions or concerns about the cost of your hearing loss, contact our office to learn more.