Far too many people who need treatment for hearing loss fail to get the assistance they need. On average, a person waits for seven years after the onset of hearing loss to get treatment. What are the costs of that delay? Not only does hearing loss prevent you from enjoying the sonic pleasures of the natural world, but it can get in the way of your relationships, physical health, mental wellness, and even your cognitive functioning. With these many effects of untreated hearing loss, you might wonder why people put off getting assistance for so long. People delay or refuse to get hearing assistance for countless reasons, but some of the common ones are based on a mythology of hearing loss and the current state of assistive technology. Let’s walk through some of these barriers to getting treatment as well as the possible negative effects of putting off assistance.
Why do people put off getting treatment for hearing loss?
Each person has a different story to tell about their path from hearing loss to assistance. Some people legitimately don’t realize that they are losing their hearing. With the gradual change taking place over such a long time, they might have developed ways to interface with the world that can hide the presence of loss. They might have even forgotten about the sounds that surround them. Other people experience psychological resistance to getting help. They might think that hearing loss is a sign of getting old or losing independence, while others are relying on false beliefs about the offerings of hearing assistance.
With old-fashioned hearing aids in mind, they might not think they work very well or that they can’t help in the situations where they are most needed. None of these reasons is a good excuse to put off getting hearing assistance, yet many people rely on these excuses. If you know someone who is putting off getting treatment for hearing loss, these might sound familiar. Take the opportunity to talk with your family and loved ones about these barriers to getting help. Sometimes all it takes is for a person to voice this line of reasoning to realize just how faulty it is.
What are the effects of putting off treatment?
In a direct sense, delaying treatment for hearing loss deprives you of enjoying the sounds in the world. Those sounds include the voices of your loved ones, as well. One of the common reports of those with untreated hearing loss is that they struggle to have conversations. Particularly when there is background noise or other voices in a room, it can be difficult to communicate. This difficulty communicating is the source of many other challenges in health and wellness. In the first place, a struggle to communicate can lead to worse quality of healthcare.
Those who have untreated hearing loss tend to return to the hospital for repeat visits, and experts wonder if these return visits are due to insufficient conversations on the first visit. They also struggle with mental health issues in greater numbers than those without hearing loss. The inability to communicate with ease can become a barrier in their relationships, leading to feelings of frustration, anxiety, isolation, and depression. Not only can untreated hearing loss lead to worse mental health, it can also contribute to cognitive decline.
Without stimulation coming from socializing and conversations, cognitive decline may occur. Many studies have shown empirical evidence that those with untreated hearing loss have higher rates of dementia than their counterparts who do not have hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss
With these many facts in mind, there is no time better than the present to talk with your family member or loved one who is delaying treatment for hearing loss. Putting off getting hearing aids might be based on some faulty logic, and the effects can be detrimental to a person’s quality of life in many ways. If you are concerned about a loved one, take the opportunity to have a conversation, asking questions about their experiences. The path toward assistance will unfold from there.
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