People put off getting a hearing test for a variety of reasons. Some people don’t think they have hearing loss at all. Whether they deny hearing loss on a subconscious or conscious level, they might put the possibility out of mind entirely. Others know that they have hearing loss, yet they would rather avoid getting a full diagnosis. They might falsely believe that hearing loss is equated with old age, or they might think that others will see them differently if they get treatment. Still others believe myths about hearing aids that are based in the past, such as that they are big, unsightly devices or that they only come at an astronomical cost. For each of these reasons and many more, some people seem bent on avoiding a hearing test.
The problem is that avoiding a test could make your problems much worse. Not only do some forms of hearing loss increase with time, but other aspects of your health and wellness can be affected. Let’s consider the domino rally of effects that can follow untreated hearing loss. This chain reaction should be a better reason than ever to get a test right away.
Hearing Loss and Your Health
Untreated hearing loss is correlated with a wide range of physical and mental health conditions. Some of these seem to be caused by another third factor, as is the case with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Yet, other problems seem to be caused directly by hearing loss. Accidents and injuries are higher among those with hearing loss, for example. We use our hearing to avoid oncoming threats and to orient around objects when vision is compromised. With untreated hearing loss, people are more likely to have serious falls that lead to injury. Mental health conditions are directly related to untreated hearing loss, as well. When we have frustrating experiences communicating with others, a wide range of mental gymnastics can take place.
Some people become anxious prior to situations that will require communication ability, while others become angry at even their friends and loved ones for the struggle to communicate. Some people develop depression as a result of this feeling of disconnection from loved ones, and they might begin to isolate themselves from their communities. Each of these physical and mental health conditions can be improved through getting treatment for hearing loss, yet too many people put off getting a hearing test instead.
Hearing Loss and Your Cognition
One serious connection has been discovered between hearing loss and a cognitive disorder: dementia. The team of researchers led by Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins University have discovered in a number of big data and clinical settings that those who have hearing loss are far more likely to develop dementia than their counterparts who do not have hearing loss. It seems that the inability to easily communicate is doing something in the cognitive process and even in the anatomy of the brain to cause serious cognitive dysfunction. The brain needs “exercise” to remain in good shape, just like the muscles of the body do, and hearing loss gets in the way of the steady flow of cognitive processing that the brain needs.
Hearing Loss and Your Finances
Putting off a hearing test could even have an effect on your bottom line. Though employers are legally required to accommodate those with hearing impairment in the workplace, many people with untreated hearing loss find that their job performance suffers in subtle or serious ways. There is even a dollar amount assigned to the hearing loss “premium.” Those with untreated hearing loss tend to have up to $30,000 less wages per year than those who do not have hearing loss. With these many potential effects of untreated hearing loss in mind, why not take the hint that it is time for a test.
Putting off your hearing exam might seem like a simple avoidance tactic, but in fact you are setting in motion many other potential effects for your health, cognition, and even your financial wellbeing. With these factors in mind, the investment in your hearing health is a no brainer. Don’t delay getting your hearing diagnosis any longer!