Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

Hearing loss is all too often underestimated in how serious of a condition it is. For one thing, it inhibits our ability to connect to the people in our lives. However, beyond that, it affects your relationship to the world and your surroundings. Despite the fact that 466 million people have hearing loss worldwide and this number is projected to double within the next 30 years, many people just don’t have a firm understanding on the ramifications of living with an untreated hearing loss. You may think you can get by without treating a hearing loss, but in truth, putting it off can make problems much worse. 

Your Relationships Suffer with Untreated Hearing Loss

When you really think about it, the people in our lives really inform our relationship to the world. For instance, you think about the socialization you receive as a child from your primary caregivers. Early childhood experiences from birth to age 8 affect the development of the brain’s architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. This will inform how we relate to the world and connect to others. 

When we live with hearing loss it can start to affect relationships throughout your life no matter your age. Hearing loss can often develop so subtly over years that you don’t even identify it; however this does not mean it is not affecting you every day. Certain tones and sounds in words such as consonants like “f”,”h”, and “s”. This can leave blanks that our brain is scrambling to fill in and can lead to constant misunderstandings and confusion. Your family, friends and co-workers may not realize you have a hearing loss, but they may instead believe that you seem disengaged, distracted, or disinterested in what they are saying. They may feel unheard, building up resentment and eroding trust. As a result it’s all too common for people to feel estranged from their friends, co-workers and even significant others.

Cognitive Decline and Untreated Hearing Loss

These missing parts of words during conversation can build up. Not only do they erode the quality of your communication, but they cause the brain to work harder. Everyday interactions can become exhausting for the brain and frustrating for the individual affected. As a result, many with hearing loss not only choose to opt out of social situations, but often display signs of cognitive decline, even in the early stages of hearing loss.

This is in part due to auditory deprivation. When sounds can’t reach the brain, the parts devoted to processing those sounds get either redirected or wither, causing brain atrophy. Alarmingly, studies have found that the degree of hearing loss you have which is untreated exponentially affects your risk of developing dementia later in life.

In a study by Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins University determined that a mild hearing loss was found to double the risk, while a moderate case of hearing loss triples the likeliness. For those with severe hearing loss, the risk of dementia was determined to be five-fold. However, it is important to note that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can significantly lower the risk of dementia. 

An Increased Risk of Falls with Untreated Hearing Loss 

As stated earlier, hearing loss not only makes it difficult to communicate but decreases our awareness of the world around us. It is an essential sense which connects us to the world. When we suffer from an unaddressed hearing loss we are more likely to miss important warning signs of obstacles or approaching objects. This lengthens our reaction time and increases the likelihood of falls and accidents. In fact, a 2012 study noted that even a  mild degree of hearing loss triples the risk of an accidental fall. The study determined that this risk increases by 140 percent for every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss!

Act Now

Don’t let hearing loss erode the quality of your relationships, your mental health, cognitive health, and sense of safety. When looking at it this way, the choice is easy. Contact us today to set up a hearing test. We can diagnose hearing loss before it has a chance to impact the quality of your life and find a solution which is just right for you.