Hearing Aids Reduce Health Risks in Seniors

Hearing loss is common as we age. Many older adults in Plano experience the negative effects of impaired hearing, including difficulty following conversations and trouble filtering out background noise. If left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and declines in mental and physical health. Fortunately, research shows that hearing aids can help reduce those risks and improve overall quality of life.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

senior couple sitting on a bench

Known as presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is a widespread condition affecting many people in Texas. It can occur due to the cumulative effects of a lifetime of noise exposure and is associated with factors such as genetics, medications, trauma and disease. One-third of people over the age of 65 develop hearing loss in Plano. By age 75, that figure is around 50 percent.

Do hearing aids help with symptoms of age-related hearing loss?

A study published in the September 4 edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people 66 and older who were treated with hearing aids upon being diagnosed with hearing loss had a lower risk of dementia, depression, anxiety and fall-related injuries over the following three years, compared to patients who did not start wearing hearing aids right away.

What benefits do hearing aids provide?

Specifically, the patients who wore hearing aids experienced the following benefits.

  • The risk of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s was 18 percent lower
  • The risk of a depression or anxiety diagnosis was 11 percent lower
  • The risk of receiving treatment for a fall-related injury was 13 percent lower

Does every eligible person choose to wear a hearing aid?

Elham Mahmoudi, a University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine health economist and study leader, summed up the results thusly: “Hearing loss is a potentially modifiable risk factor. A simpler system of hearing care, insurance coverage and more educational outreach on potential benefits of using hearing aids is needed.” Those benefits include a higher quality of life and lower healthcare costs because there are fewer chronic conditions or falls that require treatment.

The downside? Just 12 percent of seniors diagnosed with hearing loss decide to wear hearing aids, even when their health insurance helps cover at least part of the costs.

Barriers to Wearing Hearing Aids

Hearing loss usually develops gradually; this helps explain why it takes the average person seven years from the onset of their condition to seek treatment. There are other barriers to wearing hearing aids, as well. Cost is a factor, though it tends to be a minor one. There is a stigma to wearing hearing aids, with many people afraid the devices will make them appear older. There are also concerns about comfort and convenience.

Do men or women wear hearing aids more often?

Dr. Mahmoudi’s study showed that men are more likely to wear hearing aids; 13.3 percent of males and 11.3 percent of females in the study chose to wear them. Racial/ethnic makeup and geography also played a role. Latinos were the least likely to wear hearing aids while whites were more apt to choose them, and people living in the North Central region had much higher rates of hearing aid use compared to those living in the Desert Southwest.

As compelling as the study is, it leaves some unanswered questions. Despite the large sample size and lengthy follow-up period, it’s unknown how the degree of the patients’ hearing loss factored in or how often they used their hearing aids. Also unknown: whether hearing aids were responsible for the delay in health risks or merely associated with them. The National Institute on Aging is funding a new multi-year randomized study to help determine answers to those questions.

Contact us to learn more about treating hearing loss

There is no doubt that hearing aids provide benefit to a majority of individuals in Plano who have hearing loss. If you or a loved one are experiencing a decline in hearing, schedule a visit with an audiologist to learn about treatment options. Doing so will help offset your long-term health risks.


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Can Hearing Aids Save Your Marriage?


The physical, mental and psychological effects of hearing loss in Plano are well-documented. Rarely discussed is the toll a hearing impairment can take on your marriage. Many a Texas couple has fought over accusations that their partner doesn’t listen to them, but in reality, it’s possible they simply can’t hear them!

Is it Hearing Loss or a Deeper Rift?

wedding photo

Hearing loss is a widespread condition not only in Plano, but across the country, affecting an estimated 48 million Americans. It’s the third most common chronic physical health condition, trailing only arthritis and heart disease. The belief that hearing impairment is confined to the elderly is a misconception; it can strike people of all ages and is often the result of exposure to noise. Even if your spouse is a decade or two away from qualifying for an AARP membership, it’s very possible that they are having trouble hearing you – and they might not even realize it! Because hearing loss develops gradually and the brain automatically compensates, the condition often goes unrecognized for years.

To determine whether your better half isn’t really your “better” half or if they may be suffering from impaired hearing, the following signs indicate you shouldn’t be quite so eager to banish them to the proverbial doghouse just yet:

  • They frequently asking you to repeat yourself
  • They complain that other people mumble when they speak
  • They find holding a conversation when background noise is present to be difficult
  • They watch TV or listen to music with the volume turned up uncomfortably high

If you suspect your partner is suffering from hearing loss, quit looking for a divorce lawyer and make an appointment with an audiologist in Plano instead. The sooner their condition is diagnosed, the more likely you two are to be celebrating that silver wedding anniversary together!

The key to your long-term marriage success just might be hearing aids. These devices are a boon to couples everywhere who feel ignored – and, of course, they help improve the quality of life for the vast majority of patients with hearing loss! Studies indicate the biggest benefit appears to be in the users’ social lives – this includes relationships! No marriage is perfect, but when hearing loss is contributing to your relationship woes, hearing aids might just be the solution to keep you together for the long haul.

For more information on hearing loss in Plano, or to discuss options for hearing aids, schedule an appointment with your local audiologist as soon as possible.


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Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

Plano
4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943

Respect Your Ears for Added Years


One out of every five adults will be diagnosed with hearing loss in Plano at some point in their lives. This will inevitably change their lives as they adjust to communication challenges and other daily obstacles. Fortunately, the majority of these individuals – 90 percent – will benefit from using hearing aids. Not only will hearing aids reduce the burden of hearing aids – they can also lead to a longer life, according to new research.

5 Reasons to Wear Hearing Aids

A metal number 5 placed on top of a table

Hearing aids are considered the gold standard in hearing loss treatment for one very simple reason: they work!

Studies from around the world have shown many benefits to wearing them including improved communication ability, increased participation in social activities, better personal and professional relationships and a reduced risk for many physical, psychological and social conditions.

Hands down, they are the best tool for improving your quality of life if you have hearing loss in Plano.

Best of all? Hearing aids can help add years to your life. Here’s how:

  • Hearing aids improve your balance. When you have hearing loss, your brain must work harder to process sound. Doing so is costly: it must divert resources that would otherwise be used in other areas, such as the balance system. Good hearing is important in preventing falls, one of the leading causes of injury and death in the elderly. Studies show your risk of falling is three times higher if you have mild hearing loss; the more severe your impairment, the bigger your risk. Hearing aids allow your brain to focus more on balance, making it less likely you’ll experience a fall.
  • Hearing aids keep you safer in emergencies. Most people with hearing loss experience a decline in their ability to hear higher-frequency sounds, such as those emitted by emergency vehicles and smoke detectors. Being unable to hear these warning signals and others, such as car horns, increases your risk of injury or death in an emergency situation. Hearing aids are programmed to target the frequencies you have trouble with, so wearing them keeps you safer.
  • Hearing aids lower your risk of depression. People with hearing loss experience depression rates that are 8 percent higher than those found in individuals with normal hearing, according to research by the National Council on Aging. Not only is hearing loss emotionally devastating; it impacts your everyday way of life and can cause a reduction in social engagement. Hearing aids help counter these negative effects.
  • Hearing aids improve social interaction. Individuals with hearing loss are less socially active, due in large part to the anxiety and fatigue their impairment causes. Withdrawal and isolation are common, factors that are associated with higher mortality rates. When you wear hearing aids, your brain doesn’t have to work as hard, making social activities much more enjoyable – and lowering your risk of premature death.
  • Hearing aids reduce cognitive decline. There is a positive correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. We’ve already mentioned how your brain must work harder to process sound; this leaves fewer resources available for important functions such as memory and cognition – reasons why dementia rates are higher in people with untreated hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids allows your brain to focus on these key areas, reducing the likelihood you will experience cognitive decline and lowering your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – both of which can lead to an earlier death.

If you have hearing loss but aren’t wearing hearing aids, we encourage you to talk to your Plano audiologist to learn more about how these devices can help improve – and lengthen! – your life.

Hearing Aid Repair

The sad truth of the matter is that everything you buy will eventually need to be repaired. While some things, like a furnace, require a professional to work on it, other items can be fiddled with by amateurs.

Fortunately, if you are one of the 48 million people in Plano, Texas, or around the country with hearing loss, hearing aids fall into both categories. There are many simple repairs and troubleshooting that you can do yourself. For more advanced problems, you will need to contact your Plano audiologist.

Cleaning Your Hearing Aid

Tools - Plano TX

Think about it – your hearing aids spend all day in your ear. Not only is your ear damp, but the device comes into contact with earwax and other debris. The hearing aid has a number of tiny holes and spaces that are just waiting to get clogged.

Your hearing aid needs to be cleaned every day; you should use a dry tissue or cloth to do the cleaning. The earmold itself can be removed from the rest of the device and washed with a mild soap solution. Make sure the earmold is completely dry before reattaching to the hearing aid.

To prevent moisture from becoming trapped inside your hearing aid, your Plano audiologist recommends opening the battery compartment and removing the battery every night before bed. This gives your device a chance to dry out. You can also invest in a dryer or dehumidifier to eliminate moisture.

Having Trouble Hearing?

If your hearing aid is not helping you hear better, it is useless to you.

Below is a checklist of things you should try at home if your hearing aid is not working:

Make sure your hearing aid is on. This is often overlooked but you sure will be mad at yourself later if this was the problem and you never even checked.

Turn the volume up. It is easy for the settings or volume controls to get turned down or altered.

Check the batteries. The batteries used in hearing aids do not drain like normal batteries. Instead, they seem to go from full strength to depleted in an instant. You can check the batteries with a battery tester and replace them if necessary.

If you follow these steps and are still having problems, now is the time to contact your Plano audiologist. They will take a closer look at your hearing aid and will often be able to perform the repair in the office.