Posted October 12, 2017
Hearing loss affects Americans of all ages. In fact, over 20 percent, or 48 million people, have some degree of hearing loss. It’s estimated that 4 out of 5 people with hearing problems choose to ignore it. But hearing changes have far-reaching effects. Consider four ways hearing loss can impact your life:
- Safety issues – Hearing loss can cause people, especially older adults, to feel unsteady and unbalanced when standing up or walking, People with hearing loss have triple the risk of falling. Often these falls lead to serious injuries, such as broken bones or a concussion. However, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis found that hearing aids can improve balance issues in older adults with hearing loss.
- Brain power – People with hearing loss often struggle with anxiety and depression, which can impact brain function. Researchers report that people with hearing loss often experience a faster decline of cognitive ability than those with normal hearing. However, the use of hearing aids can reduce the risk.
- Work – The Better Hearing Institute says that people with untreated hearing loss could experience lower wages and unemployment. Studies show that people who wear hearing aids have better job performance and a lower risk of income loss.
- Relationships – Untreated hearing problems can cause people to withdraw from others. Group conversations and family dinners can be frustrating because individual voices blend making it difficult to follow discussions. However, hearing aids can enhance hearing so people can effectively participate in meetings and enjoy family gatherings.
Baseline hearing exam
Hearing changes can occur gradually until suddenly loss is noticeable. Schedule a hearing exam to establish a baseline of normal hearing levels for use as a comparison in the future to detect hearing problems.
Many employers now are including hearing coverage in employee benefits packages. Ameritas offers a SoundCare® benefit that features an allowance for a hearing exam, hearing aids, and hearing aid maintenance. The plan design is flexible and it can be easily tied to an Ameritas dental plan.