Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse

October 16, 2020

Avoiding Hearing Tests Could Make the Problem Much Worse
 
Dr. Darcy Benson
Latest posts by Dr. Darcy Benson (see all)

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition that older adults experience. Nearly 1 in 8 people have some degree of hearing loss which impacts over 40 million people in the U.S. Though impaired hearing is a prevalent medical condition, it is often undertreated. It often happens gradually so people can overlook this progressive decline for quite some time. 

Additionally, people may think that it is not a serious health concern and can simply be dealt with by masking the issue. But avoiding seeking treatment and taking a hearing test will likely worsen impairment which can impact overall health. Addressing symptoms early and prioritizing your hearing health can drastically improve your quality of life.  

 

Hearing Loss Symptoms

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including existing medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease), exposure to loud noise, aging, and genetic history. These factors can damage integral parts of the auditory system and reduce one’s ability to hear, producing a range of symptoms including: 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise in one or both ears 
  • Sounds are slurred or muffled 
  • Difficulty identifying individual words and following a conversation
  • Frequently increasing the volume on electronic devices 
  • Needing others to repeat themselves, speak loudly and/or slowly
  • Moving to quieter area to have conversation
  • Hearing better in one ear over the other 
  • Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise and/or during conversations with multiple people 

These symptoms can be mild to severe and significantly impact a person’s ability to manage professional and personal responsibilities. 

 

Impact of Hearing Loss 

Communication is a major way we navigate and make sense of the world. The profound effect hearing loss can have on communication has multifaceted effects on all aspects of a person’s life. Including: 

 

  • Strained Communication: hearing loss symptoms make it challenging to participate in and follow conversations. People can feel lost during conversations, miss important information, have difficulty responding. This can be frustrating for everyone involved in the conversation and can also impact job performance in addition to social life. 
  • Social Withdrawal: conversations often require extra effort and energy for people with hearing loss and this can be exhausting. Engaging with others can feel like more work than pleasure and people can avoid them altogether. Avoiding social settings, gatherings, and conversations means spending less time with family and friends. This kind of isolation can also lead to withdrawal from hobbies and activities that provide joy and exercise. 
  • Overall Health Decline: strained communication and social withdrawal can take a toll on physical and mental health which impacts general well-being and happiness on a daily basis. Also, untreated hearing loss can contribute to the development of other medical conditions. 

 

Untreated hearing loss can worsen symptoms and impairment. It can also lead to increased accidental injuries and the development of cognitive decline. Seeking treatment is critical for your overall health and wellness! 

 

Seeking Treatment 

It is incredibly important to intervene and prioritize your hearing health. Early intervention can drastically improve health outcomes and help you transition to better hearing with greater ease. Seeking treatment is actually relatively simple! 

The first step is to schedule an appointment to have your hearing assessed. Hearing tests are a noninvasive and easy way to measure your hearing ability in both ears. Conducted by one of our hearing health providers, hearing tests determine any impairment as well as the degree and specific type of hearing loss you may be experiencing. This establishes your hearing needs and allows you to work with an audiologist to meet your specific hearing needs. 

Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hearing loss! The most common treatment is hearing aids which are electronic devices that absorb, amplify, and process sound. This increase’s one’s ability to hear and communicate in all types of environments. 

With the advanced technology of today, hearing aids are more innovative (and smaller) than ever. There is a wide range of features and technologies that are designed to facilitate seamless listening experiences and effective communication. A hearing health specialist will discuss these possibilities and what could work best for you. Treating hearing loss strengthens communication and allows you to participate fully in all areas of life!