The impact of hearing loss on quality of life

National Institute of Health, reported in a recente article the relationship between hearing loss and it’s impact on the quality of life in the elderly.

Research demonstrates the considerable adverse effects of hearing loss on mental development as well as negative social, psychological, cognitive decline and other detrimental health effects of untreated hearing loss.

According to the National Institute of Health, hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in the elderly, and it is becoming a severe social and health problem.  Especially in the senior population, hearing loss affects their daily lives by hindering the communication and leads to such problems as: solemnity, isolation, greater dependence, frustration and possibly cognitive disorders.

 

The effects of untreated hearing loss:

  • Irritability, negativismo and anger
  • Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
  • Diminished psychological and overall health
  • Social rejection and loneliness
  • Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
  • Reduced job performance and earning power

 

Types of hearing loss

There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds cannot get through the outer and middle ear. The most common causes are ear infection, a hole in the tympanic membrane or damaged ossicles, benign tumors and poor Eustachian tube function.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when after inner ear damage. Once damaged, the inner ear cannot be repaired. Sensorineural hearing decreases the ability to differentiate consonant sounds.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.

 

 

The progression of hearing loss

Mild hearing loss

The quiet sounds that people can hear with their better ear are between 25 and 40 dB. People who suffer from it have some difficulties keeping up with conversations and may need to sit close to the speaker to understand the conversation.

The problem is affecting the patient’s ability to function normally in everyday life and they should consider amplification if the hearing loss is not medically treatable.

 

Moderate hearing loss

In this situation, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 40 and 70 dB. People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have some problems like having difficulty understanding conversations on the telephone and people have to speak up to person to understand what is said.

Problem is affecting the patient’s ability to function normally in their day-to-day lives and should consider amplification (hearing aids).

 

Severe hearing loss

The most quiet sounds heard by this kind of person are at 70 and 95 dB. In this case, the people who suffer from severe hearing loss have difficulty functioning in crowded listening situations such as in groups or in noise. It’s almost impossible to understand conversations on the telephone; difficulty understanding one-on-one conversations and need to sit close to the speaker to understand even part of the conversation. The person need visual cues in order to understand most conversations.

The problem affects the patient’s ability to function normally in everyday life and the they should consider amplification. If the hearing loss is medically treatable, maybe it is likely a mixed hearing and they may still require amplification post-medical treatment. Make sure to consult a Physician when trying to determine the best course of action.

 

Profound hearing loss

With this problem it is impossible to understand one-on-one conversations and the quality of the patient’s speech is affected. The most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are from 95 dB and above. If the hearing loss is medically treatable, it must be a mixed hearing loss, and will likely require amplification (hearing aids) post medical treatment to detect speech.