Hearing loss doesn’t just mean you have to turn up the volume on your television. The effects of hearing loss ripple throughout how you live and socialize and can dramatically affect your health and quality of life. Nobody wants to face hearing loss but understands the consequences of leaving hearing problems unaddressed.
Untreated hearing loss has been shown to dramatically increase a person’s risk of depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Not only that, hearing loss can reinforce underlying factors of these diseases. Leaving hearing loss untreated can lead to other difficulties while treating hearing loss can help you stay connected to the people and activities you most enjoy.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Social isolation is a disease that limits the mobility and social network of the people it affects. Hearing loss makes people vulnerable to social isolation, sometimes in ways so subtle that they are difficult to pin down when they first occur.
Think about the activities you most enjoy – going to your favorite restaurant, seeing your favorite singer perform, or getting out to cheer on the home team from the stands. Now consider how difficult these activities would be to experience if you had difficulty hearing. Hearing loss makes it hard to feel understood and challenging to understand others. Social activities keep us connected to the closest people -our friends, family, spouse, and other loved ones. The communication gap that hearing loss creates can make even small social events like family dinners and visits difficult.
Most hearing loss develops gradually throughout our lives, which means that sometimes we don’t even recognize how it affects our behavior. Untreated hearing loss might make a once enjoyable party or phone call frustrating and challenging. As a result, the person with hearing loss may adjust their life by avoiding phone calls or declining party invites, rationalizing that they “just don’t enjoy these things like they used to.” Slowly, hearing loss can cause a person to tweak their social behavior and withdraw from once-loved activities. Once these social patterns become established, it can become hard to reconnect with friends and loved ones, especially if unaddressed hearing loss persists.
Hearing Loss and Anxiety
Untreated hearing loss encourages anxiety by making it hard to interpret and react to our surroundings. Hearing difficulties can make new places and events challenging to navigate. Hearing loss can make keeping up at school or the workplace difficult and strenuous. The prospect of having essential conversations can produce stress if it is hard to keep up with what is being said. Dealing with untreated hearing loss can feel like being on board a sinking ship – and it can be hard not to panic.
Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with untreated hearing loss. The stress of keeping up with the audio cues in the world around you becomes daunting and tense. Often, anxiety can contribute to isolation by connecting the negative feelings of anxiety to social interactions and situations. Anxiety significantly impacts our overall quality of life and often contributes to other health issues.
Hearing Loss and Depression
The ramifications of untreated hearing loss can cause intense breakdowns in how we communicate with others. Elevated risk of depression has been connected to hearing loss for a long time. Hearing loss compromises our ability to connect with others. When we can’t understand others, we tend to drop away from the conversation. If isolation and anxiety are also present, an echo chamber feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world can lead to mental anguish. Depression can be deadly and has a massive effect on a person’s life and wellbeing. Often people with depression don’t seek help and even actively harm themselves.
Why delay treating hearing loss when it can mean losing much of what we enjoy in life? While untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, most hearing loss can be effectively managed by using hearing aids. Hearing aids help restore and maintain your ability to communicate and comprehend the world around you. Part of staying healthy is staying connected, and hearing aids help.
Plattsburgh Hearing can help if you are confronting hearing issues. Contact us today to get on the path to better hearing and a better life.