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The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

The Impact Of Untreated Hearing Loss, How Early Detection Can Mean Effective Solutions.

Many people with hearing loss are aware of their condition yet often find it difficult to go for treatment. It’s estimated that, on average, a person could wait up to 7 years to seek treatment. There are varying reasons for this; many feel that hearing loss is a natural part of becoming older and that adaptation is the best option. Others may be under the impression that their condition is mild or may not be aware that they have hearing loss at all. 

Creating awareness on the impacts of untreated hearing loss is important because we now understand that it can have serious effects on a person’s physical, social and emotional well being.

It’s a good idea to have your hearing screened every few years to be able to identify any of the first signs of hearing loss. Those already diagnosed but reluctant to seek treatment should consider how treatment can significantly improve their quality of life and mitigate the following impacts:

Impacts Of Untreated Hearing Loss on Emotional Well-Being

Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss is linked to a number of emotional and mental health conditions, including:

  • Negativity, anger, and irritability
  • Fatigue, feelings of stress and tension
  • withdrawal from social situations which can cause loneliness and isolation
  • Reduced alertness which can be a risk to personal safety

All of this has a significant impact on your overall mental health and can result in long term and, in some cases, severe depression. Untreated hearing loss makes it challenging to communicate. Directions become hard to follow, and important bits of information and instructions are missed. Background noises become indistinguishable, and it is difficult to follow the conversation in a group setting –  This makes the prospect of business meetings or large gatherings seem overwhelming.

Family members frequently misinterpret this breakdown in communication as confusion, forgetfulness, or the onset of dementia. This can be a very frustrating experience for the affected person. To avoid this type of anxiety, someone who has been impacted by hearing loss may instead choose to isolate. However, isolation in itself has severe impacts on mental health.

Impacts Of Untreated Hearing loss On Cognition

In addition to affecting a person’s emotional well-being, untreated hearing loss contributes significantly to cognitive decline. When a person’s hearing ability deteriorates, their brain receives less stimulation than it would normally. As the world becomes quieter, the brain does not have to work as hard to distinguish between different sounds and interpret the subtleties of each environment. This lack of brain exercise can lead to memory loss or even dementia over time.

In addition to the impacts on a person’s emotional well-being, untreated hearing loss significantly contributes to cognitive decline. When a person’s hearing ability declines, their brain receives less stimulation than it typically would. As the world starts to get quieter, the brain does not need to work as hard to identify different sounds and interpret the nuances of each environment. Over time, the lack of exercise for your brain can lead to memory loss or even dementia. 

Just like the rest of the body needs exercise to achieve peak performance, and remain in good condition, so does the brain. However, in training, Targeting specific muscle groups and ignoring others result in those areas becoming weak; this is basically how untreated hearing loss impacts your brain. 

The auditory nerves brain responsible for transmitting sound becomes weaker; as the brain starts to make up for a decline in hearing functionality, other resources like the ones used for memory and recollection begin to deteriorate. 

Furthermore, studies link social isolation to a shrinkage in brain mass, and it is this shrinkage increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The Benefits Of Hearing Loss Treatments

Treatments for hearing loss vary, from speech therapy to hearing loss support groups dietary supplements to, of course, the fitment of hearing aid devices. The benefits for treatments are innumerable; through speech therapies and support groups, the isolation that comes with hearing loss starts to dissipate.

Hearing aid devices make it possible to appreciate the smallest things like hearing the sounds of the birds or the laughter of your for the first time in ages. Coupled with speech therapies, the newfound ability to effectively communicate with friends and family will result in stronger bonds.

With the brain responding to more sound stimulation, you’ll benefit from improved alertness and a reduction, even reversal of cognitive decline.

There are a range of technologies that exist: hearing aids with many functionalities, assisted living devices and amplified phones and doorbells that make independent living possible for those affected with hearing loss. Even the assistance of a service dog could bring a lot of meaning into one’s life.

Early Detection Means Effective Solutions

The trick with hearing loss and effective treatment solutions is early detection. Through early detection, you can seek treatment early on and mitigate or even avoid the negative impacts of untreated hearing loss entirely.

Hearing Aid Labs offers FREE Hearing screen tests at all of our branches; we encourage everyone, no matter what their age or perceived risk for hearing loss, to book a test through our convenient booking portal. Don’t get caught in the dark; hearing loss can be very gradual, early detection means effective solutions.

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