Hearing loss is more damaging to an individual’s life than you may realize because it affects more than just your ability to hear. Losing your hearing can completely alter your life in ways that you may not have thought possible.
Losing your hearing can profoundly damage your social and mental health, harm your emotional stability, and put you in physical danger. In some cases, hearing loss doesn’t just affect the individual, but the family as well.
Hearing care professionals often see the same scenarios in their patients and their families. The individual with hearing loss may turn the television or radio volume up to uncomfortable and painful levels, not answer the door after it rings, or accuse others of mumbling. These scenarios do not cause immediate harm but they can cause long-term devastation if they are not treated quickly.
An individual with hearing loss often avoids conversations and social events because they feel lost and isolated. Asking others to repeat themselves can be irritating and even embarrassing.
A recent study conducted by Professor Arthur Wingfield at Brandeis University found that hearing-impaired participants have less gray matter in the auditory cortex (the part of the brain that processes speech) compared to participants with normal hearing. Not being able to process other people’s speech can lead to self-induced isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Professor Wingfield also discovered that senior citizens with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than those with treated hearing loss or than peers with normal hearing.
Not being able to hear can also put you in serious physical danger. If you cannot hear a simple doorbell ring, then your ability to respond to the environment in the case of an emergency may be decreased. This can put you and your family at serious risk.
Fortunately, hearing loss can be treated. Hearing aid devices allow you to rebuild your social, emotional, mental, and physical health. Contacting your audiologist for a hearing test is the first step to regain control of your life.