The gleeful laughter of your grandchild. The loving conversations with your best friend. The soft and tender, “I love you” from your sweetie.
There are so many wonderful reasons to be grateful for the gift of hearing. And so many reasons to safeguard this precious gift.
Let’s take a look at why untreated hearing loss will make you sick.
Physical Health Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can affect more than just your sense of hearing. It can impact your physical wellbeing and even the physical well-being of those you love.
Physical Safety and Falling Down
Your physical safety can become compromised for many different reasons when your hearing loss is ignored or overlooked. You are more prone to falls because hearing impairment can cause balance issues and disorientation.
When your friend yells, “don’t forget to step down,” you might not register the warning until it’s too late. Or your brain might become overloaded with compensating for your hearing loss that it taps out its resources that could be used for orienting to your environment.
Physical Tension, Stress and Fatigue
Untreated hearing loss can contribute to muscle tension and the stress and fatigue that comes along with it. When we struggle to hear others or try to act like we heard what they said, it can cause tension in the body. This tension can quickly turn to fatigue as our muscles are depleted of proper blood circulation.
Withdrawal from Social Activities and Social Isolation
When hearing becomes a chore, people often begin to withdraw from situations where their hearing impairment might be found out. They may skip that lunch date with friends or forego that card game night with their Bridge Club.
Not only does social withdrawal lead to social isolation and loneliness. But it can also lead to a less active lifestyle, which can bring on gradual physical decline.
Emergency Situations and Physical Harm
Untreated hearing loss can potentially lead to physical harm of a loved one. Imagine that your grandchild slipped and fell into the swimming pool while you walked inside to grab a quick cup of coffee. When your hearing is compromised, you might not be able to respond to emergency situations as quickly as you otherwise could.
Mental Health Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
In addition to physical concerns, untreated hearing loss can contribute to mental health issues for you now or later down the road.
A Pessimistic View and Anxiety
The frustration that accompanies untreated hearing loss can make your daily routine next to unbearable. When you find that ordinary everyday tasks you used to be able to accomplish in five minutes, now take 45 minutes, you’ll likely feel a lot of frustration.
This frustration can quickly build into a more consistent negative outlook on life as a whole. And this negative outlook can eventually build into a more constant anxiety about interacting with others.
Anxiety is driven by fear. And fear is a very real companion of untreated hearing loss. “Can I get by without hearing every word? Will they notice? I’m afraid of being labeled or found out.”
Anger and Depression
Anger and depression often go along with untreated hearing loss. Whereas anxiety is fear of the future, depression is anger turned inward that leads to feelings of helplessness and overwhelm.
If we ignore our hearing loss, we might find ourselves snapping at loved ones when we’re really angry at our own unwillingness to address the reality of the situation. We could also take out the anger on ourselves and spiral into depression.
Memory Impairment and Dementia
Memory naturally declines gradually as we age. We may forget a birth date or an item on our grocery list. All in all, this kind of memory loss is quite common and pretty inconsequential.
But, as hearing declines and is left untreated, our cognitive abilities also begin to suffer. As we miss more and more words that our loved ones say, we also lose more and more of our understanding of the words. When we miss out on this incoming stimuli, dementia can become a genuine concern.
Protecting Your Hearing
Your hearing is precious. The moments you share with your grandkids, best friend, and loved ones are precious. You can take care of these relationships by taking care of your own needs. If you suspect hearing loss, schedule a hearing test today.