Treating Hearing Loss Could Improve Mobility & Quality of Life

There is a stigma around growing older in the US, however, with proper attention to health concerns, a healthy and happy future is completely possible. This means being preemptive and addressing health concerns before they can progress into larger issues. Hearing loss is the third most common health condition, affecting one in three over 65 years old and half of those 75 and older. With this in mind, as we reach these milestones, it’s a safe bet to say that your hearing may be at risk. Aside from issues with hearing, unaddressed hearing loss has been linked to interpersonal relationships at home and at work as well as affecting mobility and general quality of life. As hearing healthcare specialists, we cannot urge you more to stay on top of your hearing health before it becomes a larger issue.

Addressing Hearing Loss to Improve Mobility and Quality of Life

There has been extensive research, exploring the wide reaching conditions which occur when hearing loss goes treated or untreated. A recent study from the University of Jyvaskyla and the University of Tampere in Finland explored the connection between quality of life, mobility, and the treatment of hearing loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. The Finish study found that “older people with hearing problems have more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life,” and that “the movement of older people is often negatively affected by their hearing loss.”

Over two years, researchers at the study in Finland monitored 848 older people with and without hearing loss (ages 75 to 90) and analyzed their movements in relation to their hearing ability. The findings revealed that “people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good.” 

The Effects on Social Life and Connection To Mobility

The connection between mobility and sociability may not immediately seem direct, however, as social creatures, humans are more likely to make plans, and try new things as they forge more social connection with old and new relationships. This means that social people are more likely to go more places and stay more active. A leading researcher in the Finish study, Hannele Polku, explains that, “a person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may be affected by everyday functioning. On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one’s own doesn’t experience the same number of problems due to a change of similar degree in hearing.”

Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids

While most cases of hearing loss—nearly 90 percent are sensorineural, meaning there is damage to the inner ear which is irreversible. However, the most successful treatment for improving hearing are hearing aids. These tiny electronic devices are worn around or in the ear canal and amplify the sounds you struggle with. The first step is to schedule a hearing exam in which we can identify the full spectrum of your hearing and what sounds need to be amplified more. With a comprehensive hearing exam, you can have a custom hearing experience, which can allow you to hear the world and people around you with enhanced quality.

When you invest in wearing hearing aids daily, you are more likely to be aware of the sounds around you and this includes the important environmental cues which keep us safe. Aside from a communication tool, hearing loss helps us stay safe by alerting us to warning signs around us such as alerts, honks, phone calls, alarms, and environmental clues. With enhanced hearing you can build the confidence you need to make your way through each day without assistance, which instills a sense of independence that is so crucial to our well-being—especially as we age.

It’s not just movement that matters. By treating hearing loss, you are less likely to feel isolated socially and more likely to continue pursuing the activities and hobbies that you’ve always enjoyed throughout your life. This holiday season, give the gift of treating your hearing. Contact us today to take the first steps.