Unfortunately, many people put off getting a hearing test until they start to notice an obvious change in their hearing. Sadly, just getting a simple hearing test may have been delayed for years because they may think their hearing issue isn’t “that bad yet.”
Many people don’t realize that our ears function for us to hear, but understanding happens in our brain. The quality of life for someone with untreated hearing loss can start to decline because of it. As you lose your hearing over time, your brain slowly loses the ability to connect and recognize sounds and certain words. This is why some people hear, but don’t always understand what is being said. Hearing loss has even been linked to very serious health issues like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Early detection is important to help avoid serious issues like these later in life. The phrase “use it or lose it” can apply here, as our brain can lose the ability to understand over time.
Many studies have been conducted by medical professionals (including the National Council on Aging) that have concluded that untreated hearing loss can be associated with a variety of health and social issues as well.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:
- Irritability and anger
- Fatigue and stress
- Isolation, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- Reduced alertness that results in an increased risk to personal safety
- Impaired memory and ability to learn or retain new things
- Reduced job performance and earning power
- Diminished psychological and overall health
- Increased hospital stays
- Higher risk of falling
Treating hearing loss isn’t just important to improve social interactions and potentially help ward off cognitive disorders. It can also help improve personal safety.
According to the US Fire Administration, millions of hard of hearing Americans are unable to hear the warning sounds of a fire alarm. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) asserts that people have died in a fire because they could not hear or wake up to fire alarms. This has also been supported by studies done by the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), a nonprofit organization which provides practical data on fire and building safety.
Hearing loss also makes it difficult to hear important announcements, instructions, sirens, and traffic signals, which could put you and your loved ones in danger as well.
It’s important to remember that when someone has hearing loss they aren’t the only ones affected by it, everyone around them is affected as well.
Others may find it difficult to cope with a person’s hearing needs and may find themselves talking louder, repeating themselves or gesturing more to help communicate better with someone who can’t hear well. This can be very frustrating for all involved and may cause unfortunate strain on relationships. They may also stop attending family or social gatherings and isolate themselves more too. This can be incredibly emotionally upsetting to the sufferer and those around them.
No one should suffer in this way if their hearing can be helped. It all starts with a hearing test to fully understand what is being heard and understood and what isn’t.