Untreated Hearing Loss Can Have Its Own Lasting EffectsAudiology by Accent
Hearing loss may seem like it is merely an annoyance or trivial health issue. However, according to a recent study put out by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), hearing loss can have detrimental consequences for older adults.
Hearing loss is not simply a harmless physical concern. It affects people socially and emotionally. Among those suffering from hearing loss are heightened rates of anxiety, depression and even paranoia. People who need but do not wear hearing aids are far less likely to engage in social activities on a regular basis.
Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
Consequences of leaving hearing loss untreated include social isolation and general feelings of sadness. Additionally, not treating hearing loss can result in dangerous situations, such as not being able to hear warnings alarms and sirens.
Hearing loss may be a symptom of an underlying health issue. When ignored, the root cause also goes unattended. Hearing loss may be a symptom of cardiovascular disease that remains unchecked.
As hearing continues to decline, the auditory muscles weaken over time from lack of use. This spirals into something called auditory deprivation.
Benefits of Treatment
Addressing hearing loss with proper treatment, such as hearing aids, can greatly impact one’s life in aspects ranging from relationships at home or work to an overall boost in self-confidence in every area of life.
Studies have shown that hearing aid users as well as their families report significant increases and improvement in the following realms.
- Relationships with friends and family
- Work productivity
- Mental health
- Sense of safety
- Social interactions
- Sexual life
Barriers to Overcome
The decision to use hearing aids is not always an easy one. Though they can significantly improve quality of life, for some people, there are certain fears and stigmas to overcome. Many people, especially among older populations, feel that their hearing is not really that bad or that they can still function well enough without the use of hearing aids.
Some forego hearing aids on account of feeling embarrassed by them. Another common reason is the perception of feeling old. Cost has also been listed as a factor.
Whether it be denial or vanity that gets in the way of utilizing hearing aids, it is imperative that friends and family members encourage and support their loved ones to make the decision for hearing aids. With increasingly discreet hearing aids available, there is no reason to suffer in silence.