Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss
Many people are aware they’re suffering from hearing loss, but find it difficult to get help. Those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss wait, on average, seven years before seeking treatment. The reasons for waiting on help vary; some are frustrated by hearing loss, believing it to be a sign of aging. Others think their condition isn’t that severe or may not even realize they have hearing problems.
Unfortunately, allowing hearing loss to remain untreated can lead to some serious consequences. The most recent studies highlight the social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. These effects can vary as well, but all have serious impacts on your quality of life.
THE EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF HEARING LOSS
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a number of emotional health conditions, including:
- Irritability, negativism and anger
- Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
- Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- Social rejection and loneliness
- Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
When you have hearing loss, you may experience difficulty following conversations in a group setting. Due to this problem, you’re more likely to socially withdraw from visits with friends and family, which, over time, leads to depression and anxiety. The prospect of being immersed in a work meeting or large gathering, where numerous conversations will occur, can leave you feeling anxious.
UNTREATED HEARING LOSS & SOCIAL ISOLATION
Research has shown a significant correlation between untreated hearing loss and social isolation. It has often been said that social isolation is not always a choice but a result of circumstances, which can be out of anyone’s control. As we live in era where physical distancing has become our new normal, individuals with hearing loss face even more challenges than before. The ability to be aware of their surroundings and participate in conversations with others independently has become even more necessary to protect the overall wellbeing and safety of oneself as well as others. Untreated hearing loss and isolation can only cause negative consequences that could lead to significant complications of confusion, emotional distress, depression and cognitive decline.
UNTREATED HEARING LOSS & COGNITIVE DECLINE
In addition to the impacts on your emotional wellbeing, untreated hearing loss can also affect your cognitive health. When your ability to hear declines, your brain receives less stimulation than it typically would because it’s not working to identify different sounds and nuances. Over time, this lack of exercise for your brain can lead to memory loss or even dementia. Think of your brain in the same way you think of your body; if you work out the different muscle groups of your body, you remain overall healthy. However, if you instead only focused on one specific area, the other parts of your body become weaker. This is how untreated hearing loss impacts your brain. The portion of your brain responsible for transmitting sound becomes weaker, making memory loss more likely.
TAKING THE NEXT STEPS TOWARD BETTER HEARING
Hearing loss isn’t age-specific; it can affect everyone, from babies to adults and seniors. The best way to know how to get help is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. He or she will be able to help determine the type and degree of hearing loss you have. From there, the hearing care professional will be able to suggest a type and style of hearing aid that can help you begin to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don't delay another day. Take the next step towards better hearing and schedule a Hearing Test today.