Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss

What are the Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss?

When a person’s ability to hear starts to diminish, it can be difficult to notice at first. A minor degree of hearing loss can be present until it becomes progressively worse and blatantly clear that there is an issue. However, even when there is clearly an issue, many still halt on seeking treatment. In fact, studies show that a person with progressive hearing loss often waits an average of 5 to 15 years before they finally decide to see a doctor. While there are many reasons why a person would hold off. Unfortunately, the effects of untreated hearing loss can lead to social and medical issues.

What are the Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss?

      1. Having any degree of hearing loss, especially severe, can affect a person’s quality of life and physical and mental well-being. A person with hearing loss is more likely to experience feelings of isolation, depression, frustration, and tension. All of which could have a negative effect on a person’s lifestyle and their close relationships. Plus, a person with hearing loss can also become more prone to personal safety risks.

      2. In 2011, a John Hopkins study discovered a link between hearing loss and dementia, showing that the risk of developing dementia increases by 20 percent for every 10 decibels of hearing loss. In this study, over 600 participants (many who had hearing loss at the start of the study) were closely followed for almost 20 years. At the end of the study, it was discovered that the participants with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia compared to a person with normal hearing. Those with moderate hearing loss were three times as likely to develop dementia, and those with severe hearing loss were five times as likely.

      3. Auditory deprivation is another one of the effects of untreated hearing loss. Like many other things, the term “use it or lose it” is true, even for your ears and sense of hearing. Inside your inner ear, there are tiny, microscopic hair cells that vibrate when there’s sound and send signals to your brain. If the hair cells become damaged, the sound is not transmitted to the brain properly, causing a person to develop hearing loss. When this becomes a prolonged condition that hasn’t been properly dealt with, your brain can forget how to process an auditory impulse. If this continues long enough, not even hearing aids or other forms of sound amplification will help since the brain is not physically able to interpret the sound.

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