May is Better Hearing Month, making it an appropriate time to educate the public about the link between hearing loss and a variety of different physical and mental health conditions.

“The research is out there and it is time to start paying attention to your ears,” states Dr. Shannon Aiello, Au.D. She continues, “When you really look at the multiple health conditions that hearing loss is associated with, it’s time for us as a society to really start paying attention and being proactive about hearing loss rather than writing it off as a harmless condition”

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to:

  • Dementia – High correlation in incidence of dementia
  • Fall Risk – Falling is the leading cause of fatal injuries in seniors and costs an estimated $34 billion dollars to the economy annually
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is twice as prevalent in people with hearing loss that those without
  • Cardiovascular Pathology – the prevalence of people suffering from various degrees of hearing loss is 54 percent greater among those who have a history of heart disease than in the general population. The study also indicated that individuals who exercised at least once a week saw a 32 percent reduction in the risk of suffering from hearing loss, when compared to sedentary people.
  • Depression – Studies show people with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.

Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States, affecting more than 9 million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans age 45 to 64. However, 3 out of 5 older Americans with hearing loss and 6 out of 7 middle-aged Americans with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.

Dr. Neil W. Aiello, Au.D, summarizes, “It is our responsibility as Doctors of Audiology to not only test and treat hearing loss, but to educate and empower people with untreated hearing loss; to be proactive and take charge of their hearing health. When you look at the potential consequences of untreated hearing loss, it is obvious that hearing loss is now something to start taking very seriously. Yearly, we check our eyes and teeth; our goal to add ears to that list.”