The world is filled with rich sounds. Birds chirping, a melody on a violin, ocean waves, and the voice of a loved one are all sounds that elicit joy. If you have noticed a decline in your ability to hear properly, don’t wait to get help. There are many negative consequences of untreated hearing loss. Beyond failing to hear clearly, you may experience social isolation, increased safety risks, or even cognitive decline. Contact an audiologist to get the personalized treatment and support you need.>
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
According to the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association, 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, only 20 percent of people who could benefit from treatment seek help from a medical professional. Many people postpone treatment until they are having trouble hearing in ideal listening situations. And unfortunately, hearing aid users wait an average of 10 years after their first diagnosis before taking steps to get a set of hearing aids.
If you suspect you have hearing loss, don’t wait to get treated. You may experience the following negative consequences of untreated hearing loss:
Increased Safety Risks
Avoiding treatment for hearing loss imposes significant threats. Everyday activities such as walking, driving, and cooking become safety concerns when you can’t hear. In the case of a kitchen fire or an approaching car, you could be unaware of an unsafe situation. Even watching young grandchildren can be dangerous; you might not be able to hear a crash or a cry for help.
Lower Quality of Life
Past times that once brought you joy can be difficult if you avoid hearing loss treatment. You may find listening to music or watching your favorite television show frustrating instead of relaxing. If you work or volunteer, you may struggle to complete duties that were previously easy for you.
Cognitive Decline & Depression
Not being able to communicate with friends and family members can be dispiriting, so some people who suffer from hearing loss begin avoiding social situations. Social isolation can also put you at a higher risk for dementia and cognitive decline.
The National Council on Aging commissioned a study on the consequences of untreated hearing loss. This study found that depression is more common among older Americans with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids. This same study also found that the significant others of those with untreated hearing loss had higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other psychosocial disorders. So if you suffer from untreated hearing loss, remember that you could have a negative impact on the people around you as well. The good news is that the subjects of this study experienced an improvement in their quality of life when they wore hearing aids.
Take Action Today
In many cases, hearing loss is treatable. So why wait to get help? Avoiding treatment can affect your quality of life as well as your significant other’s quality of life, and it can put you in immediate danger. Plus, technological advancements have greatly improved hearing aids in the past few years. Today, many hearing aids are discreet and inconspicuous. Some can even be controlled without attracting attention because they connect to an app on your smartphone (source). So if you’re afraid of the stigma of hearing loss, don’t be. Talk to your doctor or an audiologist about getting fitted for a hearing aid today.
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