Why You Shouldn't Wait to Treat Hearing Loss

Why You Shouldn't Wait to Treat Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common medical condition in today’s society, so common in fact that about 20% of Americans, 48 million people, report some degree of hearing loss. Even with 1 in 5 Americans experiencing this, the average person will wait about 10 years before seeking treatment. This can be for a variety of reasons—the most common things I hear are people who don’t feel like it affects their daily life, and therefore refuse to treat it, and others who are concerned about the cost behind seeking a treatment solution. Because hearing loss can be so gradual, its effects aren’t noticed until it begins to impact how they communicate with their friends and loved ones.

There are different causes of hearing loss, it can be due to ear wax, exposure to loud noises without hearing protection, or age-related. Hearing loss due to aging is the most common and permanent. This type of hearing loss usually affects the consonant sounds of speech first, making it so we hear a person talking but they sound like they are mumbling. If untreated, this type of hearing loss causes permanent changes to the brain’s ability to understand speech. Therefore the longer the brain goes without certain sounds the harder it is to reintroduce them, limiting the potential benefits of hearing aids.

The effects of untreated hearing loss are not exclusive to the ability to understand speech. These people tend to withdraw from social situations due to the inability to follow conversation. Difficulty communicating will also take a toll on the loved ones around the patient, leading to social isolation and possibly depression.

Hearing aids prevent this by amplifying the sounds that are missing. This strengthens our speech understanding ability by keeping the brain strong and helps us stay close to the ones we care about. If you or a loved one feel that you may benefit from a free hearing test and baseline consultation, please contact our offices to schedule an appointment.