The Long Term Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss

by | 06/16/2020 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

long term effects

It is not uncommon for someone with a suspected hearing loss to delay seeking treatment. Most tend to delay treatment until they cannot communicate even in the best of listening situations! I’m sure you will agree that this is not ideal. That is many months, or years in some cases, of important missed experiences with friends, family, and colleagues.

An undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to many mental and physical health complications, so it is vital to seek help as soon as a hearing loss is noticed, either by the patient or by friends or family members. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, but it does need attending to.

An even more worrying statistic is that, on average, hearing aid users wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis to be fit with their first set of hearing aids! It’s heartbreaking, especially when you know that hearing aids vastly improve quality of life.

Social Isolation

So often, we hear stories of how people gradually slide from vibrant living into a lonely existence.

An undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to social isolation. When someone can’t hear properly, social gatherings can become exhausting as they struggle and strain to hear what is being said, background music, conversations going back and forth around the room, laughter, clanging dishes it can be totally overwhelming.

Even small family events can become strained as bits of conversation get missed, and frustrations arise as impatient family members talk over the person or just leaves them out of conversations altogether. It can lead to a lot of hurt feelings.

It is no wonder that someone with an undiagnosed hearing loss would tend to avoid social events – and their world becomes smaller and smaller. With this social withdrawal comes feelings of loneliness, anger, frustration, anxiety, loss, and often a deep depression.

Getting treatment reconnects people with others. Human beings are social creatures, and we need the love and support from our loved ones, especially when facing a condition like hearing loss.

When we aren’t well and feel down, it is easy to push people away as we think we become a burden on others. It is so important that someone with a hearing loss seeks treatment before they find themselves completely shut off from the world.

Cognitive Decline

Someone with a hearing loss is at a higher risk of experiencing cognitive decline at a faster rate than people with typical hearing. Living with untreated hearing loss also increases the risk of developing dementia.

Here’s good news. 

Recent studies are collaborating on what we’ve seen anecdotally in our hearing clinic; Using hearing aids appears to counter the effect of hearing loss on cognitive decline. Other researchers found treating hearing loss is strongly associated with delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Workplace Issues

For people who are still working, concerns about their image in the workplace may keep them from seeking treatment. Yet, it’s the untreated hearing loss that can keep an employee from advancing in the workplace or even result in job losses. The employee who develops a reputation for misunderstanding instructions and missing information during meetings isn’t a strong candidate for a promotion. Not being able to hear well in the workplace can also lead to unfortunate accidents, which could have been avoidable.

Getting Help

If you’re struggling with your hearing, you need to consult a doctor of audiology. Through our Remote Access Audiology service, you can schedule a teleaudiology appointment to discuss your concerns with an audiologist via video call. Complete the form on this page, and a member of the team will contact you to schedule your “Remote Access Audiology” appointment. You also have the option to contact us at 432-689-2220 for help, questions, or support.

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Brian Martin

Brian was born in San Angelo, Texas, and moved to Odessa at the age of 5. Brian, at a very early age, had a love of music and sound. At the age of 13 Brian started to play guitar. He graduated from Permian High School and after graduation went on tour playing music and to this day, still plays in the Midland-Odessa area. Brian has been married to his high school sweetheart, Amy, for 25 years and they have one son. His family means the world to him. Over the years Brian has opened up for acts like Jason Aldean, Spencer Davis Group, Denny Laine from Wings, and many other top name groups. As life slowed down the time came for Brian to take his passion for music and sound and apply it to Audiology. Brian loves helping people and his great grandmother’s deafness and his own challenges with hearing loss drove him to become a State Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist. Brian is a member of the International Hearing Society (IHS), and the Texas Hearing Aid Association (THAA). His care for his clients and his knowledge of the industry has lead to many people being helped in their hearing journey.

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    It’s often the small questions and concerns that hold us back from making positive decisions – especially when it comes to your hearing health.

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