Age-Related Hearing Loss is Often Untreated

Age-Related Hearing Loss is Often Untreated

Age-related hearing loss is a pervasive medical condition that significantly impacts older adults. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, estimates that nearly 25% of people ages 65 to 74, and half of people 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss. Even though the risk of hearing loss increases with age, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. This highlights how widely undertreated hearing loss is. 

Untreated hearing loss can have significant effects on everyday  life, health, and wellness. Untreated symptoms strain communication, relationships, social life, and increase health risks. It is important to be able to recognize symptoms and prioritize your hearing health by seeking treatment. Treating hearing loss offers countless benefits that transform quality of life. 

Widespread Inaction on Hearing Loss 

Studies show that there tends to be widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss. To examine the scope of untreated hearing loss, the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association conducted a study. Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,500 adults and found that: 

  • 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested. 
  • More than 51% of people reported hearing issues but only 11% have sought treatment. 
  • 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for 1 or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years. 

This data reveals how deprioritized hearing health is, even when symptoms are experienced for long periods of time. 

Why is Age-Related Hearing Loss Often Untreated?

There are several factors that contribute to inaction or delayed treatment. A few factors include: 

  • Slow progression: hearing loss typically occurs gradually. This means that symptoms can remain unnoticed for some time. Symptoms can be easily overlooked or ignored, dismissed as not that bad. This contributes to a delay in getting symptoms evaluated and treated. 
  • Stigma: though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition people live with today, impacting nearly 1 in 6 people, there is still stigma associated with it. People may feel embarrassed by their hearing loss which makes it tough to acknowledge changes to hearing health. 
  • Misconceptions: there are numerous misconceptions about hearing loss that also delay treatment. This includes that it is not a serious condition and can be cured therefore dealt with later. These misconceptions prevent people from understanding the impact hearing loss can have on overall health. 

The longer symposiums remain untreated, the greater the impact can be on everyday life. Untreated hearing loss can worsen impairment and symptoms which underscores the importance of early intervention. 

Recognizing Early Signs 

Understanding hearing loss symptoms can help you recognize the changes you may experience to your hearing over time. Common symptoms include: 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise in one or both ears. 
  • Struggling to hear in places with background noise (restaurants, parties etc.). 
  • Sounds are slurred, distorted, or muffled. 
  • Lip reading to help identify individual words. 
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or other electronic devices. 
  • Pretending to hear to get through a conversation. 
  • Being able to hear more clearly out of one ear compared to the other. 
  • Experiencing fatigue after conversation and social interactions. 
  • Feeling excluded from conversations or lost while others are talking. 

These symptoms can be mild to severe, taking a toll on communication. Straine communication often results in people avoiding conversations as much as possible to cope. Social withdrawal is another sign of hearing loss. This impacts mental health, affects relationships, and can deteriorate social life. 

Treating Hearing Loss 

Hearing loss treatment is accessible and painless. The first step is to have your hearing health comprehensively assessed by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests involve a noninvasive process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies your hearing needs, allowing your hearing healthcare provider to tailor treatment to meet those needs. Hearing aids are the most common treatment and these electronic devices provide profound support, alleviating symptoms and increasing hearing capacity. Treating hearing loss not only transforms hearing but also improves relationships, social connection, and overall health. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.