The signs of hearing loss can start small: You may find yourself constantly turning up the volume on the TV or asking people to repeat themselves more often. However, while these moments may seem innocuous, hearing loss is a serious condition that, if ignored, can set off a domino effect of challenges. The consequences of putting off hearing aids can go far beyond missing a few words in conversations. Untreated hearing loss can have far-ranging negative effects on social connections, mental wellness, and even cognitive health. In this article, we outline the biggest repercussions of untreated hearing loss, shedding light on the importance of timely intervention and the transformative power of hearing aids.
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Most hearing loss develops gradually, so it can be harder to detect without a professional hearing exam. If you experience any of the following symptoms of hearing loss on a regular basis it is time for a hearing exam:
- You often ask people to repeat things
- The volume on your entertainment devices needs to be higher
- You have trouble hearing conversation in noisy environments
- Others near you hear things you don’t
- Higher pitched voices are more difficult to hear
- Some consonants are difficult to hear, including S, T, K, P, B, F
The Risks of Putting Off Getting Hearing Aids
Not only do hearing aids improve your ability to hear, but treating hearing loss early is essential to minimizing the negative effects of this condition. If left untreated, hearing loss can affect everything from your relationships, career, and favorite hobbies to your cognitive brain function and your overall health.
1. Missing Critical Information or Sounds
The inability to fully hear every spoken word around you can put you at a serious disadvantage as some of those words may be critical to your survival or when navigating learning situations. Some examples of this include:
- Geographical Directions
- Training Session Directions
- Upcoming Train and Bus Stop Announcements
- Phone Ringer, Text Chime, Door Knocks, and Doorbells
- Medical Aftercare Instructions
2. Inability to Fully Hear Conversations
When you’re experiencing hearing loss, but don’t have hearing aids, you are most likely having trouble following conversations, especially in noisy environments. It can also be embarrassing to have to keep asking people to repeat their name or what they said. In addition to the personal and professional conversations you have, it is likely also interfering with being able to understand dialog in your favorite TV shows and movies, at the cinema and theater, and the lyrics in music.
3. Limited Access to Vital Natural Sounds
There are many sounds in nature that can bring joy, calm, and delight to your daily life. When you can’t hear the birds singing, the brook babbling, or the waves crashing, you lose those access points to these feelings that are so important for one’s mental wellbeing. Similarly, music can soothe, inspire, energize, uplift, and comfort. Losing access to any of the notes in the music we hear can diminish the listening experience and decrease the emotional benefit.
4. Personal Safety Risk
Without hearing aids, you could also be unable to hear sounds that are meant to keep you safe, including:
- Car horns and sirens
- Emergency or fire alarms
- Emergency announcements
- The sound of a landslide
- The crack of a tree breaking
- Verbal warnings like “Look out!”
- Squealing brakes
- Rushing water of a flood
5. Personal Misunderstandings
When you’re not hearing conversations completely, misunderstandings can easily arise. For instance, you may have heard “I want . . . ” when someone said, “I don’t want. . . .”. We don’t know what we don’t know, so asking for repetition isn’t likely, if you didn’t know you misheard in the first place. Even if you’re not totally convinced you heard correctly, you may let it go due to the frustration of having to continually ask people to repeat themselves. Little misunderstandings can pile up and lead to hard feelings and strained relationships overtime.
6. Professional Disadvantage
Difficulty hearing at work due to putting off hearing aids can lead to unfortunate consequences as well. For instance, if you missed key information discussed during a meeting, it could lead to missed deadlines, hard feelings, or worse. If your hearing loss prevents you from hearing important information, it can affect your job satisfaction, job performance, earning power, and job security.
7. Social Isolation
Hearing conversations clearly in groups, or even one on one in loud environments, can be challenging with untreated hearing loss. Straining to hear things clearly, or constantly trying to fill in the blanks, while still keeping up in a conversation can be taxing after a while. Some people with hearing loss avoid certain situations for this reason. Or they may just give up and tune out, withdrawing and allowing others to converse. This can lead to feeling alone even in a crowd of your closest friends.
Isolation, due to being unable to hear and fully participate in conversations can lead to depression in many people with hearing loss. Without hearing aids, you also lose access to the beautiful natural sounds around you that engender calm and joy can be silenced, removing the balm that could keep depression at bay.
9. Higher Dementia Risk
According to Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission, 35% of the risk factors for dementia have the potential to be reduced, and hearing loss accounts for 8%. In addition, addressing hearing loss during midlife can potentially decrease two more risk factors noted in later life: Depression (4%) and Social Isolation (4%). Therefore, treating hearing loss with hearing aids could potentially reduce your preventable risk factors for dementia by more than 45%.
“We recommend keeping cognitively, physically, and socially active in midlife and later life although little evidence exists for any single specific activity protecting against dementia. Using hearing aids appears to reduce the excess risk from hearing loss.”
The Benefits of Using Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can help you to fully engage in the conversations and sounds around you. When your hearing has been helped through hearing aids, you can enjoy all of these benefits:
Full Access Pass to the Beautiful Sounds Around You
With hearing aids, you can once again hear the wind you feel on your face, hear the bird chirping in your yard, hear the chittering of the squirrel in the tree, and the waves crashing on the rocks. The beautiful sounds you’ve been missing out on can be welcomed back.
Fuller Engagement with Friends, Family, and Colleagues
With hearing aids, you can be part of the conversation at parties, at home, and at work, fully realizing every opportunity you may have been shying away from or struggling with because of your hearing loss.
Fewer Communication Breakdowns
When you can hear every word clearly, with every important instruction, scheduling detail, and agreement, the number of communication breakdowns will diminish. You will regain ease in your interpersonal communications, your business dealings, and your work interactions.
Richer Experience of Audio Entertainment
With hearing aids, your experience of music will greatly improve. You can follow the dialog and hear all the sound effects in your streaming, cable, and live entertainment. No more wondering what was so funny or missing the suspense created by the soundtrack.
Reduced Risk of Age-Related Dementia
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can lead to increased social engagement as the sounds around you become fuller and clearer. With this increase of aural perception and ease of interaction, you are sure to enjoy greater mental wellbeing. Plus, you can take comfort in knowing that you have also decreased your risk of dementia.
Hearing Lab Has the Best Hearing Aids Available to Put You Back in Control
Now that you know your safety, mental health, relationships, and earning power may be at risk, the only question left is, what kind of hearing aid is right for your specific hearing loss and lifestyle. At Hearing Lab, we have many hearing aids to choose from, including devices that fit behind the ear, in the ear, and even “invisible” in-the-ear models, with all the latest technology and features that will help you hear in every situation with optimal clarity. Preserve your hearing and take back control of those situations in which your hearing loss was holding you back. Get back in the game with the perfect pair of hearing aids from Hearing Lab.
Contact us today to schedule an exam to get you fitted with a hearing loss solution to fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget.