Almost 35 million people in the U.S. know they have a hearing problem, but half of them have never had their hearing evaluated by a professional. The problem is that hearing loss is more than a personal nuisance; there are serious consequences to ignoring hearing loss, including negative medical, emotional, and social changes.
Medical and Emotional Consequences
A growing body of scientific research indicates that hearing loss can lead to or enhance the effects of serious medical and emotional conditions.
Auditory Deprivation: People with hearing loss transmit incomplete signals to the brain, effectively “starving” the brain and leading to auditory deprivation. Prolonged auditory deprivation may cause your brain to forget how to interpret hearing impulses, leading to decreasing communication and other problems.
Dementia and Alzheimer disease: People with hearing problems are more likely to develop reasoning disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study from the National Institute of Aging.
Depression: Research shows that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to feel depressed, anxious, and withdrawn. Research also indicates that treatment with hearing aids can significantly improve a person’s quality of life and well-being.
“Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding,” “If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait.”
Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins
Untreated hearing loss leads to serious negative lifestyle changes, which often effect family, friends, and others. These changes include personal safety like balance; irritability; pessimism; anger; fatigue; tension; stress; isolation; withdrawal; and diminished overall health.
The Bottom Line
- Untreated hearing loss can damage your physical, emotional, and social health and well-being. This will also distress your life companion, family, and friends.
- The effects of hearing loss can be diminished with current technology (digital hearing aids, cochlear implants) and post-fitting rehabilitation.
- A hearing exam by a well-qualified Audiologist may reveal serious underlying medical conditions before you actually have any symptoms. Early detection is often critical for optimal recovery from these medical problems.
Should You Get a Hearing Exam?
The following questions from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders will help you determine if you need to have your hearing evaluated by a certified hearing professional:
*Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
*Do you have trouble following conversations when two or more people talk at the same time?
*Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
*Do you strain to understand conversations? Do you have trouble hearing in noisy backgrounds?
*Do you have trouble understanding conversations with women and children?
*Do people seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
*Do you misunderstand and respond incorrectly to what others are saying?
*Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
If you answered yes to more than two of these questions, you should have your hearing evaluated further by a certified hearing professional. This evaluation is simple and painless but could mark the beginning of a better life. Best part, it’s free!
Click here to schedule your free hearing assessment.