When you think of hearing loss, you are probably alarmed by the prospect of losing your hearing. You may picture your future self frequently asking people to repeat themselves. You envision yourself slowly fading into silence. You won’t hear the voices of your loved ones, or your favorite songs, ever again. Untreated hearing loss will lead to other inherent dangers you need to be aware of.
You may feel like you can get by without healthy hearing as it slowly gets worse. After all, you will still be able to get around and take care of yourself.
Your friends and family will understand. They love you no matter what.
But the reality of untreated hearing loss is much more sinister. It weaves its way into your life in a manner that’s difficult to recognize before it’s too late.
Let’s examine what individuals with untreated hearing loss experience.
One of the first things you’ll notice is friends and family members seem to get upset with you for no reason. They become increasingly agitated when you ask them to repeat themselves. They start yelling at you automatically, assuming you can’t hear them at a normal speaking volume. Your closest friends and family members are often frustrated with you.
You share their frustration, but you won’t realize it at first. As time goes on, you become more agitated when you can’t understand their words. You may even start to resent those around you for conversing without you.
It’s a situation that continues to worsen. You have more arguments than you used to, which may lead you to question who your real friends are.
Avoiding friends and favorite activities
As the relationship stress in your life grows, individuals with untreated hearing loss will often pull away from family members, friends, and the activities they enjoy. They prefer to be alone, rather than try to navigate conversations that become increasingly difficult for both parties.
You don’t want to be a burden, so you try to avoid the stress of trying to communicate with others.
Even in a room full of people, you feel alone. People are talking around you, but not with you. You zone out a lot. You occasionally fall asleep during social outings.
Difficulty remembering things
As social interaction becomes more difficult, you avoid it when you can. If your hearing loss continues to go untreated, the part of your brain that processes memories, solves problems, and learns new things will become weaker.
You slowly forget how to interact with others. As a result, you may develop social apprehension, depression, or constant anxiety. With less intellectual stimulation, you find yourself forgetting things.
You may find you’re asking yourself the following questions more frequently:
- Why did I enter this room?
- Did I send that birthday card to your niece?
- Did I blow the candle out before going to bed?
- Where did I put my reading glasses?
Your anxiety about losing your memory will make your cognitive issues worse.
Difficulty thinking straight
You begin to find tasks that were once simple more challenging. Basic math and making a decision may take enormous effort to accomplish.
You can’t learn to use new technology or find things that have been moved.
It may feel like people are rushing you. You think they’re getting frustrated, which makes it more difficult to think and act at a normal pace.
Severe memory loss
By this stage, you may not be aware that you can’t remember important things. You forget the names and faces of people you’ve known for many years. You may even forget how to get around in your own home.
You might get lost walking in your neighborhood.
Treating your hearing loss will improve your life
Do you believe these symptoms are simply part of the aging process? They don’t have to be.
When individuals with hearing loss don’t wear hearing aids, they’re 30% more likely to develop severe anxiety and depression. They’re more likely to isolate themselves from friends and family. They stop being socially active and taking part in their favorite activities.
Another danger of untreated hearing loss is that it makes misunderstandings much more common. These individuals are 30% more likely to have frequent arguments with loved ones.
They’re also 24% more likely to suffer from cognitive decline and dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease.
There is a silver lining, however. Treating your hearing loss by wearing a hearing aid will help you live a happier and more active life.
Have you been in denial about your hearing loss? Do you think you can simply learn to live with it? If so, you are sacrificing more than you realize.
Contact a hearing specialist in your area and get your hearing tested as soon as possible. This will allow you to continue to live an active lifestyle with your hearing intact.