Is it becoming more challenging to keep up with conversations over the phone? Are you struggling more with following conversations in noisy environments? Does it seem like everybody around you is mumbling? These are just a few signs that you are experiencing a hearing loss. Early detection and treatment of a hearing loss are vital for maintaining a healthy, independent, and rewarding lifestyle. As a means of motivating individuals in North Carolina with any form of hearing loss to seek treatment as soon as possible, here is a shortlist of consequences related to untreated hearing loss.

Hearing Health

As a hearing loss progresses, certain functions of your ear, like auditory nerves and sound processing in your brain, deteriorate. When unused or underused, these components will atrophy, worsening the condition and making the restoration of all or even a portion of your hearing more difficult and can lead to invasive and costly treatments.

Physical Health

Research cited in The Active Times indicates several risks to your physical health due to an untreated hearing loss, including:

  • Balance Issues. Individuals with mild hearing loss are three times more likely to fall due to instability than those without hearing loss.
  • Dementia. Individuals with some hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, while those with severe hearing loss are five times more likely.
  • Cognitive Decline.

Physical health is also affected by poor hygiene and a lack of exercise, which are often common among individuals with hearing loss who begin to withdraw from people due to mental health issues.

Mental Health

Mental health issues related to a hearing loss can reach well beyond being in a bad mood. Trying to keep up with conversations with a decreased hearing capacity is exhausting and often leads to the person isolating themselves from social situations. A lack of social interaction leads to depression, but can also contribute to anxiety and schizophrenia. Certain hearing loss conditions, like tinnitus, also lead to reduced job performance, insomnia, higher stress levels, fear, anger, and suicidal ideation.

Relationships

Everyone has experienced the effects of inadequate communication during the shelter-in-place regulations of COVID-19. Consequently, we all have a better understanding of how relationships deteriorate due to breakdowns in communication. For individuals with a hearing loss, there is no return to normal. Difficulty hearing over the phone, video conferencing, or even face-to-face communication creates confusion and frustration. Reduced hearing capacity also makes individuals with hearing loss dependent on others, which places further strain on relationships.

Personal Safety

Balance issues are a significant safety concern for aging individuals due to decreased bone density, but there are additional risks to your safety, related to a hearing loss; you might not hear a car or bicycle approaching, vocal warnings from others, or sirens on emergency vehicles. In addition to failing to hear these warnings, a reduced capacity to hear can cause you to misunderstand important instructions for medication, equipment, or appliance operation, or warnings from television or radio broadcasts.

Aim Hearing and Audiology Provides Hearing Loss Solutions

The consequences of untreated hearing loss have a significant impact on your independence and quality of life. At Aim Hearing and Audiology, early detection of hearing loss allows us to consider a broader range of treatment options aimed at preventing further damage to your hearing, physical and mental health, as well as maintaining your relationships and personal safety. For information on early hearing loss detection, call us at (336) 295-1064 or follow this link to schedule a Tele Audiology consultation.

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Dr. Shannon Frymark Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Shannon Frymark Au.D., CCC-A

Shannon Frymark, Au.D., CCC-A, audiologist, received her doctor of audiology degree from the School of Audiology at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is licensed by the state of North Carolina, earned her certificate of clinical competency (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and is a member of the North Carolina Speech, Hearing & Language Association as well as the Hearing Loss Association of America.