8 Reasons to Help a Loved One Suffering from Hearing Loss
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We hear with our brains, not our ears. That’s why hearing loss is important regardless of condition or capability. If you care for someone with hearing loss, or even if you find your companion struggling, having a hearing test might make a big difference to your relationship. These are some serious consequences of hearing loss you can help them avoid.
1. Mental sharpness and memory can suffer.
Untreated hearing loss can put you at a 29-57% greater risk of cognitive impairment. The reduction of stimulation to the brain impairs its ability to process sound and recognize speech, and the extra effort needed to hear reduces the effort available for other cognitive functions like focus and concentration. It can be tricky to remember what’s been said when it’s a struggle to hear it in the first place.
2. The risk of cognitive decline increases.
Untreated hearing loss can double the risk of cognitive decline. The more severe the hearing loss, the greater the risk. A moderate case triples your risk. And a severe case makes you up to five times more likely to develop cognitive decline.
3. It’s harder to communicate effectively.
As hearing worsens, it becomes difficult to follow normal conversations. Your loved one may feel lost in a group discussion. They may ask others to repeat themselves or speak more clearly. Or they may nod and pretend to understand when they don’t. Not surprisingly, conversations just aren’t as fun anymore.
4. It takes a toll on their social life.
Noisy get-togethers can be challenging for hearing loss sufferers. The person you care for may turn down invitations and decide it’s easier to stay home alone than go out. Research shows that seniors with untreated hearing loss are 20-24% less likely to participate in social activities compared to those who wear hearing aids.
5. Hearing loss can cause negative emotions.
Most people with untreated hearing loss are vulnerable to anxiety, frustration, anger, embarrassment, irritability, low self-confidence, stress and even depression. Imagine the sadness of missing out on the calming sounds of nature, the giggles of grandchildren or the whisper of an “I love you.”
6. Straining to hear can be exhausting.
Does the person you’re caring for get fatigued and need to recover after a visit or social event? It’s mentally tiring when you don’t hear well because you have to dig deeper into your cognitive reserves to keep up. The brain needs to work harder to pick out key sounds from background noise, and everyday tasks become more demanding.
7. There’s an increased risk to personal safety.
Hearing difficulties can affect balance and make you unaware of your environment and the dangers around you. Even a mild degree of hearing loss triples the risk of an accidental fall.1 If they don’t know exactly where sounds are coming from, your loved ones may feel scared and insecure. Think of not being able to hear a smoke alarm, a car horn, or the warning beeps of a reversing truck.
8. Untreated hearing loss is tough on your relationship.
Caring for someone with hearing loss can be emotionally and physically draining. You may find yourself arguing over the volume on the TV or get annoyed when you’re told that you mumble or speak too quietly. Repeating yourself and amplifying your voice all day can wear you out. The great news is that many first-time hearing users experience significant improvements in their relationships. What better reason to help your loved ones do something about their hearing loss?
Help them take the first step toward better hearing.
Book a FREE hearing test with a certified hearing professional at HearingLife, Canada’s largest group of hearing centres with over 300 locations. We give you access to the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment and advanced hearing aid technology to help your loved ones find the best hearing aids to suit their needs.
CARP members save additional 10% off the regular price or limited-time promotional price of select hearing aids sold at HearingLife and our national affiliated partners, proud sponsors of the Campaign for Better Hearing, and earn up to 2,000 AIR MILES® reward miles with their purchase!
1 Shapiro, Z. (2019). Hearing loss and the increased risk of falls. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/hearing-loss-and-the-increased-risk-of-falls/full/