Delaying hearing loss treatment can raise the risk of dementia, falls, and other serious health concerns.
Many people with hearing loss wait too long before seeking help. Some people with hearing loss think they hear and understand perfectly well. Others assume that the loss is part of aging, and believe that they can manage without treatment.
As a result, treatment is delayed. The problem with delaying treatment is that hearing loss can cause a range of issues including negative social, cognitive, and psychological effects.
Potential Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
Because most hearing loss is gradual, and because it’s easier to work around or cope with, many people let it go untreated. However, untreated hearing loss can lead to bigger, more consequential issues.
I. Cognitive Decline
The brain has a fantastic ability to adapt to sensory changes, but that backfires when it comes to hearing loss. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. It’s that mechanism of hearing that permits you to identify the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as you drive down the street.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it struggles to find it. The stress on the brain and lack of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that raises your risk of dementia later on in life.
II. Income Disparity
According to a study by hearingloss.org, untreated hearing loss affects productivity, performance and career success, resulting in income loss. When hardworking professionals feel the lack of confidence that can come from not being able to contribute during meetings, hear clearly the important instructions from the boss or understand all that was said on a phone conference, it can lead to feelings of insecurity. These feelings can prevent you from realizing your true potential on the job.
Hearing loss progresses gradually and over time, people who have it tend to begin withdrawing from social situations that prove too challenging. This could mean avoiding the happy hour after work with colleagues, cutting your family dinner short, or skipping out on your weekly bridge game. All of these things together can lead to isolation and loneliness.
Hearing loss makes it easy to withdraw from life – if you or a loved one is suffering from the negative effects of hearing loss, don’t wait to seek treatment. You could be doing more harm than you know. Call 1300 060 455 to set up your hearing test today with World of Hearing’s Principal Audiologist, Karen Cooper!