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What Happens if Left Untreated?

A large majority of people wait 15 or more year from the point when they recognize they have a hearing loss to when they acquire their first hearing aid. It is during this time that their quality of life may have declined needlessly. Our ears’ functions give us the ability to hear, but understanding takes place within the brain. Over long periods of time as you lose your hearing or your hearing loss becomes worse, your brain will slowly lose the ability to recognize sounds and certain words. This is why you can hear, but misunderstand the words said to you.

The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) reported that hearing loss in older persons can have a large damaging effect on quality of life. In the NCOA’s study of 2,300 adults who were hard of hearing and age 50 or older, those with untreated hearing loss were more probable to have depression, anxiety, and paranoia and far less likely to join in on organized events, compared to those who wore hearing aids. Studies have connected untreated hearing loss to:

Dr. Max Chartrand, professor of Behavioral Medicine at Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Arizona states, “Few chronic illnesses are as insidious and difficult to detect yet striking in their effects on our psychological and social wellbeing as the uncorrected loss of hearing”.

Your hearing loss can also be a hazard to your individual safety. According to the US Fire Administration, millions of hard of hearing Americans are unable to hear the cautionary sounds of a fire alarm. The Hearing Loss Association of America claims that people have died in a fire because they did not hear or awaken from the fire alarms. Hearing loss also makes it difficult to hear important announcements, directions, sirens, and traffic signals, which could put you and your family in danger.

Hearing loss can also affect more than just the person with the hearing loss, but everyone that interacts with them. Others find it tough to handle you with your hearing needs; they have to repeat themselves, talk louder then normal, and use more signs and body language while talking. A hearing loss is not only frustrating for you, but for everyone that tries to communicate with you.

Hearing loss can have an impact upon you in the workplace. Approximately 2 out of 3 people with hearing loss are below retirement age and are still working, yet fewer than 13% have reported that they received a screening for hearing loss during their last physical exam.

Hearing loss stops employees from completely engaging in meetings and discussions, which can fuel anger, unpredictability and anxiety, while giving co-workers the impression that they’re less knowledgeable, says Sergei Kochkin, Executive Director of The Better Hearing Institute. Hearing loss also can make it harder to hear and understand people over the phone and fully understand conversations with co-workers in a loud setting.

If you are the spouse, child or friend of someone with untreated hearing loss, you may think you are assisting them by repeating yourself, trying to communicate louder or clearly, or by interpreting things that others talk about. What you are not realizing is that you are only helping the problem and empowering them not to seek help for their hearing loss. People with the hearing loss will not realize how much they are truly missing if they are assisted by others. Yet, it takes only a short period of time for them to realize that, without your help, they are in trouble. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your friend or loved one get the help they need for their hearing loss.

Beltone Carolina Virginia has locations throughout NC, SC and VA.

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