Untreated Hearing Loss
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), over 48 million Americans (about 20% of the adult population ages 18 and up) have some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, only 20% of those individuals who could benefit from hearing aid technology actually seek help. That means that approximately 38 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss do not seek treatment options.
Untreated hearing loss can impact different parts of your life, some more than others and can lead to many unpleasant side effects. Making the choice to have hearing assessed and if needed, purchasing a hearing aid can improve your quality of life and ultimately give you a sense of relief.
Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a medical condition that if left untreated can cause problems in many areas of a person’s’ life.
- Diminished comprehension and recall
- Trouble concentrating
- Straining to hear words instead of processing what is being said
- Greater incidence of dementia in patients with hearing loss
- Fewer connections with friends, family and co-workers
- Retreating from social situations that you once enjoyed
- Feeling more isolated and alone
Physical / Health Impacts:
- Vertigo/balance issues – greater risk of falling
It is important to know that there are many different resources available to people with hearing loss. If you have gaps in your hearing, don’t feel unnecessarily overwhelmed or frustrated. We are here to help handle any negative feelings you may have associated with your hearing loss. Don’t feel angry, embarrassed or even depressed from hearing loss. We encourage you to reach out to your family and friends for support. You can also discuss your hearing loss with certified hearing care professional such as an audiologist.
Untreated Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Untreated hearing loss in the workplace can be frustrating not only for the people with hearing loss but also for the co-workers and customers (who may be unaware that you have challenges with your hearing). If unaddressed, hearing loss can lead to large amounts of anxiety and stress in the workplace. You may be surprised at how many people report having a hard time hearing at work. But, as shown by these statistics, it is common
- 40% of employees say they have to pretend to hear when they cannot hear.
- 42% of employees say they often experience miscommunications between others at work.
- 57% of employees say they frequently have to strain to hear a conversation due to background noise.
- 61% of employees have to ask for a coworker to repeat they have said.
- Out of 2000 workers surveyed by EPIC Hearing Healthcare, 95% say that untreated hearing loss has a negative impact on their job.
Treating hearing loss can mean a world of a difference in your life including better job performance and overall improved happiness. If you are the spouse, child, friend, or co-worker of someone with untreated hearing loss, you may think you’re helping them by repeating yourself, making extra effort to speak louder or more clearly, or by interpreting what others say. What you may not realize is that you’re assisting in their failure to seek help and appropriate treatment.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help your friend or loved one get the help they need:
- Repeat yourself
- Raise your voice
- “Translate” conversation
- Act as their messenger on the phone
- Communicate how their loss is affecting your relationship
- Let them know waiting won’t make the hearing loss go away or get better
- Encourage them to get their hearing screened
- Accompany them to their appointment
Why You Should Make an Appointment to See an Audiologist
According to a survey conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), individuals with a hearing impairment and their family members found the following to be true:
- Treatment of hearing loss improves relationships at home and with family.
- The use of hearing aids is associated with reduced anger, frustration, paranoia and anxiety.
- Most people who use hearing aids have more active and improved social lives.
- People who use hearing aids report better health than people who have loss but who do not use hearing aids.
- 9 out of 10 hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life.