The Side Effects Of Untreated Hearing Loss

July 6, 2021

Most people experience some level of hearing loss throughout their life — usually in older age. Hearing loss can usually be treated easily by prescribing a hearing aid. Failing to look into treatment could result in continued hearing difficulties. It could also have other harmful side effects. These side effects are listed below, as well as advice on how to avoid them.

Social Withdrawal/Anxiety

Hearing loss can make social situations difficult. Following conversations can be tricky — especially if there is a lot of background noise. As a result, some people with hearing loss may shy away from social situations and possibly become anxious around social events.

There are a few ways to achieve better hearing in social situations. The first is to get a hearing aid. The second could be to organize social events in locations that don’t have a lot of background noise. It is also important to be open with people about your hearing problems so that they can speak louder or reposition themselves if necessary. 

Depression

Because hearing loss can impact the ability to socialize and communicate, it can make many people feel isolated and frustrated. This in turn can lead to depression — especially if someone was very gregarious before. Some people may even have to give up passions and occupations if hearing loss gets too severe, causing further depression.

Usually seeking treatment for hearing loss can prevent these feelings of depression from surfacing. Taking steps to be open with people, including friends and your employer, could also help — there may be ways of catering to your hearing loss that prevent you from having to give up your passions and livelihood.

Memory Loss

Studies show strong links between hearing loss and reduced cognitive function. Hearing loss can cause cognitive overload, which can cause many people to become more forgetful. There are also links between hearing loss and the development of cognitive illnesses like dementia. 

Getting a hearing aid could possibly help to prevent this. It is worth noting that memory loss can be caused by other factors such as poor sleep quality or regular heavy drinking. 

Balance Problems

Our ears control not just our sense of hearing but also our sense of balance. Some hearing problems can also cause problems with balance such as ear infections. This can lead to nausea, disorientation and falls.

It is worth seeing an audiologist if you experience balance problems and hearing loss. Often treating hearing problems early can prevent any balance issues from occurring later. 

Slow Reaction To Dangers

We rely a lot on our sense of hearing to detect problems — including hazards. People with untreated hearing loss may fail to hear an approaching car behind them, unusual sounds around the home such as a faulty boiler or buzzing electrical socket or even certain warning alarms. 

Wearing a hearing aid could make you more alert to these hazards. This could prevent an accident occurring in some cases. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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