Millions of Americans experience hearing loss. For most, the appropriate treatment is hearing aids. Research suggests that the longer and more severe the untreated hearing loss exists, the more severe the consequences.
So why don’t more people get hearing aids?
For some, it may be for financial reasons. For others, it may be difficult to accept the fact that it’s time for some assistance. Others may not even realize that they have a hearing problem.
A hearing evaluation is the best way to understand the type and severity of any hearing loss. To determine if a hearing evaluation is needed, answer these following questions:
- Has anyone ever suggested that you have your hearing checked?
- Do you have difficulty understanding speech in multi-talker or environments with background noise?
- Do you have trouble understanding over the phone?
- Is the television too loud for others?
- Does it seem like everyone mumbles?
- Are you able to localize the direction of a sound?
- Do you need to ask people to speak louder or to repeat themselves?
- Are women’s’ and children’s voices difficult to hear?
- Do you avoid some situations because communication is difficult?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to see your hearing healthcare professional for a hearing evaluation.
Because many hearing losses worsen gradually over time, it may be years before its presence is noticed. Unfortunately, there are many consequences of leaving a hearing loss untreated. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging revealed something that hearing healthcare professionals have suspected for some time now – that hearing loss is linked to dementia in older adults. Researchers found that mild hearing loss doubled a person’s risk of dementia and that those with a severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those who had hearing in the normal range.
Untreated hearing loss can also negatively affect a persons quality of life, which is made worse by the severity of the loss. Research shows that those suffering from even moderately severe hearing loss can suffer from:
- Difficulty on the job and decreased earnings
- Loneliness, Depression, Seclusion
- Less social activity
- Fear, Worry, Anger, Frustration
- Interference in short-term memory
If you suspect a hearing loss, don’t delay. Have your hearing tested soon. The sooner the better! Hearing aid technology is truly amazing these days. Not only are instruments much more cosmetically appealing than a generation ago, some are virtually invisible!