Many people put off their hearing health because they fear the cost of treating hearing loss will be too high, but the truth of the matter is putting off treating your hearing loss can cost you more over time.
From increased medical bills to decreased quality of life, hearing loss effects more than your ability to hear and understand others. Here are just a few of the hidden costs of untreated hearing loss.
The monetary costs of hearing loss
While you might think “toughing it out” without hearing aids (or continuing to use outdated technology) will save you money, doing so does more harm than good over the long run.
Higher overall healthcare payments
One study revealed that those diagnosed with hearing loss had 33 percent higher overall health care costs than those who do not suffer from hearing loss. The same study also showed that those who left their hearing loss untreated spent about 25% more over an 18-month period than those without.
Reduced earning potential
Hearing is essential in almost every job. Missing important information during meetings and conference calls due to untreated hearing loss could impact your ability to perform well. The Better Hearing Institute’s study, The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income, revealed that hearing loss can decrease household income by an average of $12,000 if left untreated.
However, taking steps to minimize hearing challenges in the workplace - including treating your hearing loss with a hearing aid – actually increases your earning potential. If the condition remains untreated and worsens, so will the frequency and severity of mistakes made at work.
The cost to your emotional and social health
Untreated hearing loss sometimes lead to social, emotional and physical problems. The effects of hearing loss differ from person to person, but many of those with hearing loss experience greater levels of self-consciousness and anxiety when they leave their hearing loss untreated.
Hearing loss makes navigating social situations more difficult, and can often mean straining to hear others in conversations. More than 11 percent of those with hearing loss also have depression, compared to 5 percent in the general population.
Additionally, you may think hearing loss only affects you, but research shows untreated hearing loss has a big impact on your close relationships – especially your relationship with your significant other. When one partner in a relationship suffers from untreated hearing loss, the other will likely have to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate. Attending restaurants and parties can become challenging, and the volume of the television can quickly become a point of contention.
The physical costs of hearing loss
People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to face certain physical issues than those who treat their hearing loss.
A horn honking; a person shouting; footsteps coming up behind you. These sounds serve as a warning for something about to happen. When you are unable to hear such a warning, you do not have time to think or react, putting your safety at risk. Additionally, untreated hearing loss puts you at a higher risk of experiencing falls.
Hearing loss requires a person’s brain to work harder during a conversation, which can deplete cognitive resources more quickly and cause fatigue. While hearing aids can help greatly reduce this fatigue, untreated hearing loss can reduce day-to-day motivation and productivity.
Overall cognitive decline
Untreated hearing loss can cause you to lose brain tissue at an accelerated rate, putting you at a higher risk for dementia. This is because our hearing involves the brain more so than the ears. When you begin to lose hearing, the way your brain processes and respond to sound changes, which can affect higher-level cognitive functions as they try to compensate for the weakened area.
Loss of independence
If your hearing loss has impacted your ability to work or drive or has affected other cognitive abilities, you may find that you more frequently require the help and care of others to perform routine tasks.
Save on medical costs with proper care
While hearing loss has a number of hidden costs, the good news is there are so many effective ways to slow its progression and improve your quality of life. Annual hearing evaluations and regularly replacing your hearing aids can help keep your baseline hearing strong and ensure your current technology fits both your lifestyle and changing hearing abilities.
Your hearing health is important, and getting the right treatment can save you thousands of dollars in health care costs. Contact our hearing care professionals to learn more about how we can help you design monthly payment options to fit your lifestyle and budget.