How Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Mental Health

How Treating Hearing Loss Can Improve Mental health

Hearing Loss; More Common Than You Think

Did you know that hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities? About 13% of the U.S. population lives with some detectable degree of hearing loss, making it more common than diabetes or cancer. But many people are likely surprised to learn this because hearing loss is an invisible disability, meaning you cannot tell if someone suffers from it just by looking at them. 

Just as everyone’s personality and circumstances are a singular combination unique to them, so too is each person’s disability. The term hearing loss refers to a range of conditions that span from muddled clarity to complete deafness. And if each person’s disability is unique, then it only follows that each person’s treatment should also be uniquely tailored. 

But tragically, studies demonstrate over and over that a stunning majority of those affected by hearing loss fail to seek appropriate treatment. In fact, fewer than 20% of those who live with hearing loss do so with the support of an appropriate treatment regimen. One thing that every case of hearing loss does have in common: left untreated, its consequences unravel and compound, damaging many aspects of your overall health. 

Hearing Loss; More Consequential Than You Think

There are consequences to hearing loss that are instantly recognizable. You might feel dizzy. Your spatial awareness may be thrown off, increasing the chances of bumps or falls. When struggling to follow a conversation you might feel clumsy and slow, and these feelings can feed into the more subtle, and potentially more hazardous consequences on your mental health. 

Consider how hearing loss spirals when left untreated: when you first begin to feel the impacts of hearing loss, you may not even register that it is happening. You just know that you have been socially withdrawing because conversations out in public, with background noise, especially with two or more people, have become fatiguing. You probably are not registering that this fatigue is the result of the extra energy that you are expending just to follow the conversation, reading lips, and filling in dropped words with context clues. You are doing these corrective measures unconsciously. 

But fatigued, you start to recalibrate how you decide what social activities are worth it. Or, even more consequential, perhaps your job is becoming more difficult in this same way, causing you habitual exposure to fatiguing scenarios that you have no choice but to attend. Either way, subconsciously, you begin to withdraw. Such withdrawal causes loneliness. Loneliness causes depression. Depression throws off your sense of perspective and the damaging side effects compound. 

No Matter Your Age, Take Immediate Action

When dealt with responsibly with appropriate treatment, hearing loss will likely impact your life no more than wearing eyeglasses does. But it is simple to see how what was a simple and manageable problem expanded into so much more when it is not dealt with. Hearing loss most often comes on so gradually that it is nearly impossible to recognize. And because it emerges so gradually, there is probably not any singular moment inspiring someone to take corrective action. 

This is why it is so important to make a discipline of healthy hearing habits such as regular hearing tests to gauge objectively exactly where your hearing health really is. A hearing test should be as commonplace as an annual physical, eye exam, or dental visit. 

Left untreated, adults aged 18-64 who live with hearing loss will unnecessarily risk their professional opportunities. Children not only risk falling behind in their education, but without crucial intervention at the earliest possible moment, hearing loss can thwart normal developmental progress.

According to the US government’s definition, mental health “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

You know that there is no valid excuse for minimizing your hearing health. Make an appointment today with one of our hearing specialists to take control of your overall health and quality of life.

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With so many myths and misinformation about hearing loss and hearing care, it’s often the unknowns or confusion that holds us back from making the right decisions.

That’s why we have a hearing care expert available to help.

If you have a question, or would like to speak to a professional privately about the challenges that you may be facing, then simply request a callback and we’ll call you for a friendly no-obligation conversation.