The effects of untreated hearing loss

Did you know hearing loss is the second most common health issue globally? Only about 35% of people with hearing loss seek help, and on average, a person waits about 5 to 7 years to get hearing aids after they know they have hearing loss. There are many reasons why people delay the search for treatment: It is easier to deny the problem and think that others are just mumbling or speaking softly, or to think that it is age related and that they can wait to get hearing aids later. Some people remember their grandparents or friends having difficulties with the hearing aids, and that negative experience make them to feel insecure about wearing them. 

Unfortunately, some studies have shown serious negative social, psychological, and cognitive consequences of untreated hearing loss that can influence the quality of life. Likewise, hearing loss affects not only the person, but also the people around them, because of being frustrated trying to communicate properly.

Social and Emotional consequences of Untreated Hearing loss: 

  • Social Isolation: Prefers to withdraw from social meetings or conversations within a group of people.
  • Increased levels of stress: Even a mild hearing loss requires a lot of effort to the brain to follow a conversation when background noise is present. This situation creates high levels of cortisone in the body, creating stress, fatigue and tiredness.
  • Depression, anger or frustration: Not being able to hear properly leads to negative feelings making the person quieter, and tense.
  • Loss of Job opportunities: This is a factor than can be devastating for some people, as they feel they have all the skill and knowledge for a job, but they fail in an interview, or they loose a job position because of not being able to follow instructions, or not hearing the clients requests.
  • Becoming dependable on others: For people with untreated hearing loss is very common that they need to depend on others for important matters that they used to do by themselves, like having a meeting at the bank, or with a lawyer.

Health Effects of the Untreated Hearing Loss: 

Hearing Loss is a problem that affects other aspects of our health. Acceleration of a Cognitive decline is one of them due to the deprivation of the brain of certain sounds that the person cannot hear well. Thus, the brain starts compensating with visual ques rather than sound ques so the part of the brain that analyzes the sound gets lazy, and these functions are taken by the part of the brain that analyzes the visual components. The lack of stimulation in certain parts of the brain will also contribute to memory difficulties that impact also the cognitive decline.

Advantages of treating hearing loss using hearing aids: 

  • The person recovers self-esteem and becomes more independent.
  • Feels more secure and happy.
  • Recovers some of the activities that the person had stopped doing because of the difficulty hearing well. (Going to theater, to the casino or to the weekly meeting with the friends)
  • Feels smarter as the person is able to participate actively in conversations.
  • Feels more connected with the people around them (grandchildren, friends, family)
  • Improves quality of life.

If you identify with any of these effects that we have discussed above, you may need to seek help. Nowadays, technology has made possible to have discreet hearing aids that will help you to hear the sounds you have been missing. Each case is different, but the hearing care professional will give you all the information you need to make a great decision and guide you to make the process of getting adapted to the hearing aids as easy as possible.

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