Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

The risks of untreated hearing loss go far beyond not being able to hear well. Hearing loss also has been closely associated with depression, dementia, tinnitus, and falling. This blog highlights those connections and explains why it’s so important to have a diagnostic hearing evaluation.

Did you know that untreated hearing loss is associated with many other medical, cognitive and emotional conditions, including depression, dementia, tinnitus and loss of balance?

In fact, the latest scientific research continues to support how important it is to treat hearing loss to help reduce the risk of these conditions. Below are some of the latest statistics and reasons to consider treating hearing loss.


  • Eleven percent of people with hearing loss struggle with depression—more than two times the rate in the general population.
  • Studies show that adults with untreated hearing loss have a shorter lifespan than adults who have hearing loss but who wear hearing aids.
  • Hearing aids have been shown to reverse negative psychological and emotional changes and may offset cognitive decline associated with hearing loss.


  • People with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. For people with severe hearing loss, the risk of dementia may be five times greater!
  • A 25 dB hearing loss is equivalent to a seven-year age decline in cognitive function.
  • Lifestyle factors, like increasing exercise, education, social contact, quitting smoking and treating hearing loss could prevent one in three cases of dementia.


  • Tinnitus can include ringing, buzzing, roaring and phantom noises. It affects 20% of Americans, 90% of whom have hearing loss.
  • Sixty percent of veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have either tinnitus or hearing loss.
  • Approximately 60% of tinnitus patients report some relief when wearing hearing aids.


  • People with mild hearing loss (25 dB) are three times more likely to have a history of falling.
  • Every additional 10 dB of hearing loss increases the chances of falling by 1.4 times.
  • A study at the University of Washington showed individuals with hearing loss had better balance when using hearing aids than when they did not.

With research continuing to demonstrate how important hearing well is to aging well, it’s important to have a diagnostic hearing evaluation, especially if you have been experiencing problems hearing. These problems can include:

  • Ringing, buzzing, or hearing noises in your ears.
  • Hearing more clearly with one ear than the other.
  • Difficulty following conversations in a noisy restaurant or crowded room.
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
  • Trouble hearing household sounds, like a doorbell or alarm clock.
  • Problems hearing on the phone.
  • Feeling as if people constantly mumble or don’t speak clearly.
  • Problems hearing the television or radio.
  • Difficulty understanding the speaker at a public meeting or religious service.
  • Problems hearing interferes with your personal, family or social life.

If you are experiencing one or more of the issues above, it may be time to have your hearing evaluated by a doctoral-level audiologist. It is also recommended that adults consider a baseline hearing examination at 50 years of age.

Schedule an appointment.