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What are the Health Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss?

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Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss doesn’t just prevent you from listening to the world around you: it can also have knock-on impacts on the rest of your health. Take a look at some of these health impacts that could happen if you don’t visit your audiologist.

Cognitive decline

Humans need regular cognitive stimulation to keep their brains sharp and focused. But if they don’t get it, they can begin to suffer from cognitive decline, especially at older ages.

People with hearing loss lose a big chunk of information coming into their brains, meaning the specific parts of the brain can go extended periods without being used. Over time, a lack of auditory stimulation can lead to the loss of neural connections in certain regions, leading to a reduced capacity to think and process information.

Depression

If left untreated, hearing loss can get worse. Many people with hearing loss struggle to take part in conversations because they can only hear fragments of what’s being said. After a while, they find interacting with others too frustrating and so begin turning down social invitations. The result of this process is increasing isolation, increasing the likelihood of developing depression.

Increased chance of falling

Data suggest that people with hearing loss are more than three times more likely to fall. The explanation for this is not yet clear, but experts think it might be because people who can’t hear are less aware of their surroundings and, therefore, less likely to respond to sound cues which could indicate that a fall is imminent.

Declining metabolic health

People with hearing loss may experience higher levels of stress and tension. Over time, this stress and strain may lead to lifestyle choices that increase blood pressure, which could lead to further health complications.

Difficulties learning speech and language

Untreated hearing loss can have a profound impact on children. Children with hearing loss struggle to develop speech and language skills, which can cause them to miss critical developmental windows. When children can’t develop speech and language to a high level, it can have an impact on their subsequent academic performance and make it more challenging to get jobs in the future.

Treating hearing loss in children is, therefore, vital. Look out for the signs that a child might be suffering from hearing loss, including failing to react to loud noises and frustration while in noisy environments.

Increased anxiety

Knowing that you won’t be able to hear the contents of a conversation can lead to increased levels of anxiety in susceptible people.

Being unable to hear also makes it more difficult to detect what’s going on in your environment, potentially putting you in danger. For instance, you may not be able to identify the approach of oncoming vehicles until they are close if you have a mild or moderate hearing loss.

Your hearing loss may also affect your ability to do your work, leading to financial worries. If you cannot hear what people say on the phone or in meetings, then you may be more prone to making mistakes.

If you have hearing loss, speak to your audiologist today.