A recent study found that untreated hearing loss, which affects about 14.6 million people in the United States, costs the country $133 billion each year in high unemployment not to mention a lower quality of life for those affected.
To put this massive cost in perspective, imagine that you had $133 billion burning a hole in your pocket. You could easily buy:
- Disney studios, entertainment, and theme parks ($130 billion)
- Buckingham Palace ($1.4 billion)
- The most expensive car in the world – in fact, several of them ($70 million)
- The White House ($400 million)
- A chartered rocket to outer space ($50 million)
And while you couldn’t outright buy The Coca-Cola Co. ($194 billion), you could get a majority stake in the company.
Putting it in this perspective, it seems crazy that disabling, untreated hearing loss costs us so much money each year.
It begs the question: what can we do to start saving money and getting back on track? Let’s start at the beginning and figure out why hearing loss can go untreated:
Stigmas Surrounding Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, even with all the advances in hearing loss technology, some people still fee there is a stigma associated with hearing loss. For many people, it ties into the idea of aging – something everyone does, but few people look forward to. A hearing aid to some is a sign that they’re getting older. Yet newer hearing aids are smaller, more discreet, and some even have more technology in them than a computer from not-too-distant past.
The reality, though, is that untreated hearing loss is a significant problem and should be addressed without delay to head off some of the more damaging consequences of ignoring your hearing loss, such as dementia, safety concerns, increased anxiety, and bouts of depression.
Visit a Specialist to Diagnose Your Untreated Hearing Loss
Your first course of action once you decide to treat your hearing loss should be to visit a hearing specialist to find out exactly what’s going on with your ears. A specialist can diagnose the cause of your hearing loss and prescribe some treatments for you, which can include changes in your diet, speaking with a mental health professional, getting your ears professionally cleaned and treated, or trying out some form of hearing aid.
This first step is key to gaining back a level of independence and quality of life, while also helping to prevent the cognitive decline that is typically associated with hearing loss, especially when we age.
What are the Immediate Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss?
Obviously, saving $133 billion is a pretty good incentive for taking care of untreated hearing loss. But there are more positive benefits that come about when you address your hearing condition, like for example improving your social and emotional well-being. Interpersonal communication is key to a healthy emotional state since isolation can bring about feelings of depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Treating your hearing loss can give you the ability to get back out there and rekindle relationships with friends and family that have gone by the wayside because of your hearing difficulties. It will also improve your quality of life, which can help to bring down the costs related to mental health care and other psychological treatments.
The ability to work and gain financial independence is also linked to treating your disabling hearing loss since almost every job in the country requires some level of interpersonal communication. This financial independence can help alleviate other pressures in your life, and the overall impact will be extremely positive.
But none of these things can happen until you decide to stop letting your hearing loss go untreated.