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Understanding Hearing Loss with DeafHear’s Hearing Aid Service

Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss...
DeafHear’s Hearing Aid Service

Hearing Loss Hurts

Even a slight hearing loss can have a negative impact on the ability to work, socialise and enjoy life. Research on people with hearing loss and their families and friends has shown that hearing plays a significant factor in a person’s social, emotional and physical well-being. Hearing loss in older age has been associated with increased risks of developing depression, dementia, heart problems and diabetes.

Early detection and treatment of hearing loss is critical to reduce the chances of developing these problems. Research has shown that people who have their hearing loss diagnosed and are fitted with hearing aids are significantly happier, are more socially active, and are physically healthier than those with untreated hearing loss.

Don’t underestimate the potential impact
of hearing loss on a person’s quality of life.

One large American study found that hearing loss had the second highest
negative impact on individuals’ quality of life in terms of physical and
cognitive functioning: higher than cancer, heart disease, arthritis, epilepsy, diabetes, blindness and a range of other health conditions.

Only chronic digestive disorders had a greater impact on quality
of life than hearing loss, and these disorders are similar to hearing loss
in that they impact on daily living on an almost constant basis.
(Hawkins et al, 2012).


The key message is: if you are concerned about your hearing, do something about it now! The earlier you act, the better the outcome for you! More than 90% of people who are diagnosed with hearing loss and are fitted with hearing aids are happy with the improvement in their quality of life.

Social Isolation, Depression and Other Effects of Hearing Loss

People with hearing loss can have difficulty participating in everyday life. They may mistake words in a conversation, misunderstand directions or warnings or leave a phone or doorbell unanswered.

People who cannot hear well may become depressed or withdrawn from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said.

Some of the side effect of hearing loss may include:

  • Tiredness

  • Irritability

  • Frustration

  • Stress

  • Depression

  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations

  • Loneliness

Many people suffer unnecessarily with their hearing difficulties. They may have difficulty facing the fact that they have some hearing loss and they are not sure of what steps to take to tackle the problem. Fortunately, in many cases, treatment of hearing loss can be easily resolved.

If you or a family member suspects a hearing loss, the first step towards a resolution is to book an appointment with a professional audiologist. Simply call 01-8175700, or contact your local DeafHear Resource Centre to make an appointment with an audiologist! If you are a medical card holder, contact your local HSE Health Centre, as you are entitled to a free audiology service, including hearing aids, if required.

Memory Problems and Other Cognitive Effects

As we grow older, forgetfulness and other effects associated with hearing loss might actually be mistaken for dementia. Research shows that the ability to think is diminished when the brain is working overtime to communicate. Symptoms of cognitive decline may in fact be symptoms of hearing loss.

Research also shows that stress and fatigue are also associated with hearing loss, especially in the workplace. Untreated hearing loss results in these problems being exacerbated.

Financial Consequences and Other Career Effects

Missing important information in meetings or responding inappropriately may be seen by colleagues as a performance related issue rather than a result of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can also affect your ability to perform work effectively, which has a negative impact upon overall working ability, opportunities for promotion and lifelong earning power. Based on an Australian economic analysis of the costs to society of hearing loss by Access Economics (2006), DeafHear estimates the annual cost of hearing loss in Ireland to be €2.2bn. More than half of this annual cost, 56.7% (€1.25bn) is borne by people with hearing loss through loss of earnings. Estimates published in 2006 suggest that over €16bn is lost to the UK economy every year through unemployment linked to hearing loss (Shield, 2006).