It’s easy to think that the only side effect of untreated hearing loss is, well, not being able to hear. But this is not the case. Untreated hearing loss can actually have a profound impact on the quality of your life, as well as your physical and mental health.
Untreated hearing loss is about so much more than not being able to follow conversations around you. When left untreated, hearing loss can cause someone to spiral downwards.
Why Do People Leave Hearing Loss Untreated?
Many people are aware that they are experiencing hearing loss but choose not to see a doctor or get it treated. There are many reasons that this may be the case, but here at SightMD, we often find that people are in denial about their hearing loss. Patients may also feel embarrassment or anger, or simply believe they can just “get by” without hearing devices.
Many people wait years, even decades, to address their hearing problems. Some never address the problem at all.
While many people do “get by” in life without hearing aids, it can have a severe negative impact on their lives. This is why at SightMD, we believe that treatment is always better than ignoring the problem. Not only to make your life more enjoyable, but also to keep you from experiencing the side effects of untreated hearing loss. It may not happen immediately, but untreated hearing loss can turn you into a person you don’t even recognize anymore. It could take decades before you finally realize you have a problem. And by then, the problem may be more severe.
The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can cause a surprising amount of side effects, ranging from mild to life-altering. These side effects include:
- Anger, irritability, negative outlook on life
- Depression (which can result in fatigue, stress, and tension)
- Social isolation
- Loneliness and social rejection
- Risk to personal safety as a result of reduced alertness
- Impaired memory and ability to learn (untreated hearing loss is associated with dementia development)
- Reduced job performance and low earning power
- Decreased psychological and overall health
A Growing National Epidemic
48 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults, and only 20% of those adults seek treatment.
As hearing loss becomes more and more common as technology advances, so do cases of untreated hearing loss. The aging population does contribute to this rise in untreated hearing loss, but it is important to remember that hearing loss does not just happen to people in their old age.
Hearing loss can happen at any age! When children experience hearing loss, it can hold them back cognitively and developmentally. Hearing loss can strike at any time, especially after prolonged or sudden exposure to loud noise. Infections and injuries can also cause mild to profound hearing loss. It’s important to have sudden hearing loss checked out as soon as possible.
The Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Usually, the first sign of hearing loss is noticed when a patient has difficulty keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy environments. When hearing loss is left untreated, the initial symptoms only get worse.
Early on, high-pitched sounds (such as a child or female’s voice) become harder to hear. The sounds “S” and “F” may be difficult to hear or distinguish. You may be dealing with mild to moderate hearing loss if:
- You have trouble following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once
- You think other people are mumbling or not speaking clearly
- You often misunderstand what others say and respond inappropriately
- You get complaints that you have the TV or radio up too loud
- You hear ringing, roaring or hissing sounds in your ear when they are not there (a condition known as tinnitus)
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, know that there are plenty of hearing devices available! Hearing aids are no longer blocky and obvious.
Besides the wearer, nobody will ever know you are wearing a hearing aid thanks to new technology and models. If you have to choose between a hearing device and not being able to hear the world around you, choose the life-changing choice!
If you or a family member suspects they are dealing with hearing loss, be sure to see an audiologist right away. At SightMD, we understand that hearing loss is hard to deal with and accept. We will work with you to develop the perfect treatment plan and help you avoid the symptoms of untreated hearing loss.
Every patient is unique, and your treatment plan should reflect that. What works for one patient’s untreated hearing loss may not work for another.
SightMD will work with you to find what’s best and get you back to living your life. Call us or contact us online to schedule your appointment with a highly skilled Doctor of Audiology!