Did you know that hearing loss can impact your physical health and wellness? Nearly 1 in 6 people have some degree of impaired hearing but only a third of people who could benefit from treatment receive it. Over 48 million people have hearing loss, one of the most common medical conditions people live with today. Studies show that hearing loss not only takes a toll on hearing health but also physical health by reducing physicality, contributing to depressive symptoms, and impacting mobility. This highlights the importance of addressing symptoms and seeking treatment.
Link Between Hearing Loss and Reduced Physical Ability
Much research reveals that hearing loss can have implications on physical health. This includes reducing physical engagement, movement, and health. The following studies investigate how hearing loss can affect physical health:
- 2021 Study Published in JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery. In this study, researchers investigated the impact of hearing loss on physical health. It consisted of assessing the hearing and physical capacities of 1644 people, ages 65 and older. Participants had their hearing evaluated and physicality was assessed with a series of tests. This included tests that evaluated physical movements, balance, weight, and ability to complete daily physical acts. Participants included people with and without hearing loss – 13.6% had diagnosed hearing loss. Researchers found that people with hearing loss were more likely to experience impaired lower extremity function, frailty syndrome, and disability in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).
- 2015 Study by University of Jyväskylä and the University of Tampere. This study focuses on the impact of hearing loss on mobility. Researchers in Finland evaluated 848 people, ages 75-90 for two years. Participants had their hearing health evaluated as well as mobility. Researchers found that people with hearing loss were more than twice as likely to limit their movements compared to people without hearing loss. This included staying in more, spending less time with others, participating less in social activities and hobbies etc.
These studies highlight how hearing loss can impact physical health. This data shows that people with hearing loss were less physically engaged, moved less, and had reduced capacity to perform daily physical activities.
Impact of Hearing Loss on Physical Health and Wellness
Hearing loss can affect physical health in major ways. Impaired hearing reduces one’s ability to hear and process speech as well as sound. This produces a range of symptoms that make it tough to hear and communicate. Communication is integral to how we navigate everyday life so strained communication has far reaching effects. To cope with symptoms, it is common to avoid conversations as much as possible. This includes keeping them short, spending less time with others, skipping out on social activities, and participating less in hobbies. This can lead to:
- Depressive symptoms: social withdrawal means spending less time with loved ones and isolating yourself. This constitutes depressive symptoms like loneliness, anxiety, sadness etc. Numerous studies show that people with hearing loss can be twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms compared to people without hearing loss. This can take a toll on mental health and well being.
- Increased health risks: in addition to depressive symptoms, hearing loss can increase other health risks. This includes cognitive decline, falls, and accidental injuries which can affect mobility and physical health.
These effects of untreated hearing loss can take a toll on physical health and wellness. This underscores the importance of interpreting early to address symptoms and treat hearing loss.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
Treating hearing loss offers life changing benefits. This includes strengthening communication, improving relationships, and enriching social life. Treatment alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity, allowing people to navigate conversations and social settings much more easily and comfortably. These benefits support an enriched social life and ability to participate in social activities. This improves physical health, enabling people to live active lives.
The first step you can take to address your hearing loss is scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing evaluations involve a painless process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing impairment and establishes your hearing needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.