The Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss
Facing the reality of hearing loss can be challenging in many ways. Oftentimes, individuals can be in denial of their hearing loss and refuse to take immediate action, often waiting 7 to 10 years from their initial diagnosis. However, there are many underlying risks that pose a threat to individuals who do not treat their hearing loss.
Changes to Brain Health, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia
A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins expert, Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D, found that “mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.” The brain has to reorganize and change how it works to “compensate” for the hearing loss causing changes to the overall function. A brain with hearing loss can decrease as much as 40% affecting areas associated with memory, speech, language, processing, and hearing.
Many individuals with hearing loss may begin avoiding social situations because of the increased effort or embarrassment it can cause. However, symptoms of their condition still progress. A steady decline in hearing ability can cause isolation and depression in the affected individual. Social isolation is the number one cause of non-medical dementia and hearing loss is the number one cause of social isolation!
Many patients bring their family members to their appointment which we strongly encourage. Hearing loss does not only affect the person with the hearing loss but significantly affects those they communicate with. Oftentimes, untreated hearing loss causes strains on relationships. This increases communication breakdowns and decreases in sharing of information and regularly social connection. This can take place in romantic relationships, friendships, and professional connections.
If you are experiencing declines to your hearing and communication abilities, please contact Elevate Audiology! We specialize in providing high-quality and trusted audiology care including cognitive screenings and hearing aids to our community. Call to schedule an appointment today! (864) 442-5555