Why Not Wait
The stigma of hearing loss is that it only affects the elderly. People feel if they are diagnosed with a hearing loss, and not over the age of 80, hearing aids will make them feel old and people will notice. Hearing loss is a non-discriminatory and invisible condition. 48 million Americans are diagnosed with hearing loss. 60% of these 48 million affected by hearing loss are either in the workforce or in educational settings. 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to personality changes, confusion, and depression. In the older population, untreated hearing loss can be misdiagnosed as dementia or complicate the person’s diagnosis.
Nerve related hearing loss is an irreversible condition. Waiting to pursue treatment can lead to further damage. Our hearing nerve and hearing hair cells atrophy without proper stimulation. As hearing declines, a person’s ability to discriminate, or understand words also declines. This phenomenon is known as auditory deprivation. Another common sign of atrophy is tinnitus, or “ringing.” Once tinnitus starts there is no true cure to eliminate the sound unless the hair cells are re- stimulated at a proper level.
Hearing aids can help prevent the decline of word understanding (prevents auditory deprivation), and can help reduce the perception of tinnitus. These two reasons are the most important reasons to avoid waiting to treat your hearing loss.
If contemplating on whether you should come in for a hearing test, ask yourself; do people notice if I accidently ignore them? Are my family/friends frustrated with having to repeat themselves? Am I tired of missing important parts of the conversation? Has my quality of life declined? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.