Man in front of his woodworking workshop.

Hobbies, in many ways, make life worthwhile, but we may not often give them credit they’re due.

Hobbies keep your mind active. They keep muscles working. They improve circulation. They keep you moving.

Many hobbies even increase your opportunities to connect with friends. Having a hobby has been shown to significantly reduce dementia risk in aging adults. On top of all of the health benefits, they make life more fun.

It can be difficult to participate in the activities you love when you have untreated hearing loss. Over time, you’re likely to spend less time on hobbies if you’re struggling with hearing loss. That means you miss out on the many benefits you receive when you stay active in hobbies.

Let’s take a look at how untreated hearing impacts hobbies and what you can do to keep doing the things you love.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Hobbies

A person who developed hearing loss as a child had a lifetime to adapt to the condition. Their other senses adjust, allowing them to lead healthy, fulfilled lives.

But when a hearing person slowly loses their hearing, it can incrementally lead to giving up on activities. Hearing loss rarely happens suddenly.

It’s very gradual. You may not even notice at first how it’s changing your life.

Hobbies become more difficult. They’re less enjoyable. When you do get involved, it’s harder to communicate with others. Some hobbies can even become dangerous.

A person with untreated hearing loss is twice as likely to suffer an accident when doing hobbies. Hearing-related hobby accidents contribute to around 28 million ER visits a year, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

Why Untreated Hearing Loss Increases Accident Risk

If you have a dangerous hobby like mountain climbing, it’s easy to see how not hearing could make the activity more dangerous. You can’t communicate with the other climbers to safely get to the top.

But even “safer” hobbies that you’ve been doing for years become more dangerous as hearing loss goes untreated.

Cycling becomes a challenge because you may miss subtle sounds around you that can signal danger. You startle more easily.

Cooking becomes riskier because you may not hear water boiling, a small fire, alarm or timer. A hobby photographer may step into a precarious situation unaware of its presence as they try to get the perfect shot.

It’s easy to imagine how woodworking, gardening, hunting, and boating can all become more dangerous.

Why Untreated Hearing Loss Makes Hobbies Less Enjoyable

Maybe you’ve taken up something calm like knitting. You meet with a group of 4 others every week to enjoy an evening of knitting and chatting. But as hearing loss progresses, you begin to feel more isolated, even when sitting in a room with, so many people.

You miss parts of the conversation so you don’t feel comfortable chiming in. Your friends begin to interact with you less because you often ask them to repeat themselves.

Why Hearing Loss Goes Untreated

Hearing loss goes untreated for many reasons.

First, you may not realize how bad it is. You assume that it’s background noise. You’re able to fill in the blanks when you miss something.

When you mishear something, people smile and don’t tell you that you misunderstood them. If we were more honest with ourselves and others, we’d get the help we need.

Secondly, your hearing loss might go untreated because you don’t want to wear a hearing aid. People think it makes them seem older or less able. The fact is, hearing loss is a part of aging, but living with age-related hearing loss is not. People who get their hearing loss treated stay more active and involved.

This leads to a happier, healthier, more connected life.

Third, people think hearing aids are expensive. It’s true that an excellent hearing aid isn’t cheap. But when you consider the cost-savings of staying safe while performing hobbies, staying connected in the community and living healthier overall, it’s easy to see hearing aids as an investment rather than an expense.

Don’t let Hearing Loss Stop Your Hobbies

If you have any trouble hearing, even a little, see an audiologist. Get a hearing test sooner rather than later. Once hearing loss starts down that slippery slope, it can worsen quickly. But getting a hearing aid can slow the progression and allow you to stay more connected through hobbies.