When it comes to treating hearing loss, people love to procrastinate. On average, it takes a person seven years from the time they first notice hearing changes to their first appointment with an audiologist. Unfortunately, waiting doesn’t pay off. Leaving hearing loss unrecognized and untreated can lead to a cascade of health issues and take a big toll on your quality of life. If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, its important to take your hearing health seriously and seek treatment
The first part of insuring that your hearing loss is treated is making sure you recognize hearing issues when they arise. Most hearing loss occurs gradually over time, making it difficult for people to decide that a change in their hearing is “a big enough deal” to seek a professional hearing exam.
When you notice significant changes in your hearing it’s always worthy of your attention – and a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist. Other signs to watch for include the perception that voices are muffled or unintelligible and asking people to repeat themselves frequently. Check to make sure the volume setting on your home and car audio systems isn’t turned up loud – if it is, it often indicates that hearing at a lower volume may be a problem for you.
If you are worried about not catching the signs of hearing loss, eliminate your fear by establishing annual hearing exams. An annual hearing exam establishes a hearing health baseline for you and can catch hearing issues early.
Hearing is so critical to the way we socialize and communicate that hearing loss can have a dramatic impact on our quality of life. Communication problems can limit how we talk to our closest friends and relatives, and it can also keep you away from gatherings and events you have trouble navigating with hearing challenges.
People with untreated hearing loss have a higher risk of social isolation because of the pressure hearing problems place on their communication and understanding. Untreated hearing loss can also raise anxiety and depression levels where the challenges of hearing loss can create a negative feedback loop working against a persons everyday enjoyment of the world.
Quality of life issues aren’t the only way that untreated hearing loss impacts your health. When hearing loss is left untreated your whole body responds to the issue. When hearing loss isn’t treated it can cause a cognitive chain reaction. Your brain prioritizes sound processing. With normal hearing, this process is seamless, with the mind translating the sound wave signals detected by the ears into meaning.
With hearing loss however, the process isn’t so simple and the brain now has to interpret incomplete sound information. To do this, our brain creates new pathways and patterns. It also siphons energy and attention away from other important cognitive tasks. This cognitive re-prioritizing in the brain has been linked to a decrease in coordination and balance which leads to more falling accidents and accidental injuries. The cognitive strain has also been associated with a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Hearing loss changes the way the brain works and the longer you wait to treat your hearing loss, the farther your brain has moved away from its normal hearing pathways. While it’s never too late to seek help for your hearing, treating hearing loss earlier is significantly easier.
When you catch hearing loss early, the less your hearing has changed and the easier it is to adapt to treatment, like hearing aids, and feel you retain your normal hearing. Waiting longer means that not only will your hearing decline, it will be harder for you to adapt to hearing aids and other hearing treatment. Treating hearing loss early means you retain more of your natural hearing and curb further hearing loss.
The time to treat hearing loss is now and Carolina Speech and Hearing can help. Treating hearing in Central South Carolina, our team has decades of experience in audiology and patient care offering you comprehensive hearing testing as well as professional consultation on finding the best treatment options for your hearing issues. We offer top name brand hearing aids alongside custom fitting and programming. When you have a hearing issue, or if its time for your annual hearing check up, call us at Carolina Speech and Hearing today!