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By Dr. Layne Garrett, AuD

Did you know that one in three people between the ages of 65-74 have hearing loss and that it extends to over half of people over 75? The answer is simple– seek treatment for hearing loss with a qualified professional.  However, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, only 30% of those who need hearing treatment get it. 

That is a pity because in addition to helping you to communicate better, treating hearing loss has other great benefits, including these four:

1.     Lower Risk of Falls

Falls are serious business. One in four adults age 65 and older report falling each year according to the CDC—and falls are the number one cause of injuries in people in that age range.  Add to that the fact that the average cost of a fall is over $14,000 per incident and even more if it results in a broken hip. A “mild” hearing loss triples your chance of falling, no matter how old you are, so even people in their 30s and 40s who experience hearing loss are putting themselves at increased risk of falls by leaving hearing loss untreated

2.     Lower Risk of Mortality

A recent study published in the January 2024 issue of The Lancet Healthy Longevity found that American adults who have hearing loss and are regular users of hearing aids have a significantly lower risk of dying than those who never wore or seldomly wore hearing aids. While more study needs to be done to show a cause and effect relationship, the correlation showed a 24% decrease in mortality for those who treated their hearing loss. 

3. Lower Risk of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Another study from January 2024 at the University of Southern Denmark found that in a study of 573,000 people, those who had hearing loss had as much as a 13 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those with normal hearing. Furthermore, it corroborated other studies done at Johns Hopkins University showing that the risk of getting dementia was 20 percent higher for people who did not wear hearing aids, compared with people with normal hearing.

The 2020 Lancet Report on the care, prevention, intervention of dementia found that nearly 40% of dementia cases are preventable, and the number one most modifiable risk factor is treating hearing loss.  When combined with limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, increasing physical activity, controlling blood pressure, and keeping your brain active, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing cognitive impairment in later life. This is why many hearing clinics including Timpanogos Hearing & Tinnitus offer cognitive screening as part of their hearing evaluation.

4. Less Depression, Social Isolation, and Anxiety

Patients who struggle to understand conversations around them tend to withdraw. These conversations often occur in social situations that used to be enjoyed by a person experiencing hearing loss– family gatherings, dinners with friends, travel with a spouse, etc. A meta-study of 20 studies published in Frontiers in Public Health in January of 2024 found that those who have hearing loss are more likely to have depression and anxiety than those who don’t.  Another 2023 study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that hearing aids seemed to lower the risk of depression. 

Other benefits of treating hearing loss include decreased ringing in your ears, more energy and less cognitive overload. If you have questions about hearing loss or want to see if you qualify for a free hearing evaluation with one of our award-winning providers, give us a call at 801-763-0724.

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