If I Can Still Hear, Is It OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids

If I Can Still Hear, Is It OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids?

In Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HISLeave a Comment

Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS
Latest posts by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS (see all)

One of the most common misconceptions about hearing loss is that if you can still hear, the impairment is not as serious or does not need to be addressed soon. This misconception often leads to a delay in treatment which contributes to why hearing loss tends to be underdiagnosed. In fact, the average person waits up to 7 years after first experiencing symptoms to seek treatment. This not only takes a toll on hearing health but also has major effects that impact all aspects of daily life like straining communication, relationships, and increasing health risks. It is critical to address hearing loss as early as possible, early intervention can drastically help transform your health and quality of life. 

What Happens If You Put Off Getting Hearing Aids?

Hearing loss exists on a spectrum – mild, moderate, to severe. This means that people can experience varying degrees of hearing loss which can also change over time. Hearing loss that remains untreated can worsen, deepening impairment and its symptoms. Common symptoms like tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing-like noise in the ears), distortion or muffling of sounds, difficulty identifying individual words, needing to increase the volume on electronic devices, asking others to repeat themselves, etc. can heighten. 

 

Experiencing these symptoms more profoundly further strains communication, making it difficult to engage in conversations and often leading to social withdrawal. Extensive research shows that this can increase the risk of developing other health conditions that are associated with untreated hearing loss including the following: 

 

  1. Cognitive Decline: substantial research shows that there is a correlation between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. This includes a significant 2019 study that involved over 10,000 participants. Researchers collected and analyzed data on hearing loss and cognitive capacity and found that cognitive decline was 54% higher among people with severe hearing loss. This significantly increased risk reveals that untreated hearing loss can profoundly impact brain health. 

 

Untreated hearing loss happens in both the ears and brain. There are areas of the brain that are responsible for processing speech and sound. Untreated hearing loss results in these areas being less active, reducing their cognitive functions. Additionally, other parts of the brain can try to step in and compensate for this inactivity, leading to cognitive overload. These are some of the ways that brain health is impacted which can contribute to cognitive decline

  • Depression: research has also established a correlation between untreated hearing loss and depression. Social withdrawal and isolation are major effects of hearing loss. Strained communication makes conversations challenging to navigate – people often experience miscommunication, frustration, anxiety, etc. This creates avoidance of conversations and social interaction altogether. Social withdrawal means spending less time with loved ones and not going to gatherings which increases loneliness, contributing to depression. A 2015 study that included over 18,000 people found that participants with hearing loss were more than twice as likely to have moderate to severe depression. 


  • Accidental Injuries: untreated hearing loss also increases the risk of experiencing accidental injuries. Reduced capacity to hear decreased spatial awareness. This could mean not hearing warning signs, voices, or other activity in your environment which makes falls more likely. Research findings from a 2012 study show that people with mild hearing loss were 3 times more likely to have a history of falling. This can lead to mobility issues, increased health care costs, and difficulty navigating independently. 

 

These effects of hearing loss can take a toll on all aspects of daily life and health. The longer hearing loss remains untreated, the more it can worsen and exacerbate symptoms. Seeking treatment as early as possible is critical. 

 

Address Your Hearing Loss Today

Fortunately, seeking treatment for hearing loss involves a few simple steps. Treatment starts by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. This involves a painless process that measures hearing capacity in both ears and established your specific hearing needs. We will then recommend treatment options that will effectively meet those needs. Hearing aids are the most common treatment which are electronic devices that provide ample hearing support, maximizing hearing capacity. You can prioritize your hearing health today by calling us to schedule an appointment! Our practice is invested in improving your hearing health and quality of life. 

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