Research throughout the past couple of decades has proven that hearing health has a significant impact on overall health. Hearing loss is associated with balance problems, falls, social isolation, loneliness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Healthy hearing may provide you with physical and mental health benefits in the following ways:
Not only can our ears provide us with positive health and security benefits, but they can also signal that there may be an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. Because our hearing relies on good circulation, hearing loss can be an early sign of diabetes7 or cardiovascular issues8. Listen to your ears! A simple hearing test should be added to your healthcare routine to stay vital and aware of your overall health.
In recent research by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), it was found that on average, people wait four years before acting on their hearing loss after they notice there may be an issue.9 During this time, many people rely on coping mechanisms such as avoiding certain social situations, hobbies, and phone conversations, asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder, as well as adjusting the volume on the TV and other electronics.
Hearing loss may occur gradually over time, and it's important to act as soon as you notice (or are told by family members) that your hearing may be getting worse. The following symptoms may indicate that you should have your hearing checked:
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, visit a hearing professional to have your hearing tested. The results will help you understand your level of hearing loss, if present, and a professional can guide you to the best treatment options for your hearing and lifestyle needs.
1 Why depression and untreated hearing loss are linked. (2020). Retrieved 3 May 2022, from https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52437-The-complex-link-between-depression-and-hearing-loss
2 Livingston, G. et. al, (2020). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6
3 Lin, Frank R. et al, (2011). Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia Arch Neurol. 2011;68(2):214-220. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.362
4 Loughrey DG, et. al, (2018). Association of age-related hearing loss with cognitive function, cognitive impairment, and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.; 144: 115-126
5 "Patients with Untreated Hearing Loss Incur Higher Health Care Costs Over Time: Johns Hopkins." (2018) Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2018/patients-with-untreated-hearing-loss-incur-higher-health-care-costs-over-time
6 Hogan, Michelle (2013). Hearing Loss Linked to Unemployment, Lower Income, The Hearing Journal - Volume 66 - Issue 2 - doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000427556.02475.44
7 Hearing Loss Is Common in People with Diabetes. (2008). National Institute of Health. Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes
8 Clason, Debbie. (2020) "Hearing Loss and Heart Disease." Healthy Hearing, https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52833-Hearing-loss-and-heart-health
9 Powers TA, Carr K. MarkeTrak 2022: Navigating the changing landscape of hearing healthcare. Hearing Review. 2022;29(5):12-17.