Have you noticed that you struggle to hear in restaurants or other environments with background noise? Do you find yourself often responding to others with “huh” or “what”? These are common signs of hearing loss, a medical condition that impacts capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. If you experience even the slightest forms of hearing loss, it is important to not avoid addressing your symptoms. This can make your hearing and symptoms much worse.
Widespread Inaction on Hearing Loss
Over 48 million people experience hearing loss which is the third most common medical condition people live with today. Though it is pervasive, it still remains widely undertreated. In fact, it takes an average of 7 years for people to seek treatment for their symptoms. Numerous studies show that there tends to be inaction when it comes to hearing loss. This includes a recent study conducted by American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association that sought to assess the scope of inaction when it comes to addressing hearing loss symptoms. This study involved polling a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,500 adults on their experience of hearing loss. Key findings include:
- 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 highlights how common it is to avoid hearing loss symptoms, even symptoms that have been experienced for a number of years.
Several factors contribute to avoiding hearing loss treatment. This includes common misconceptions people have about hearing loss and the stigma that is still associated with it. It is common to think that hearing loss only affects aging adults or that if you can hear, your hearing health is fine. But people of all ages experience hearing loss and the impact of untreated symptoms can take a significant toll on health and wellness.
Impact of Avoiding Hearing Tests
Avoiding taking a hearing test and addressing your symptoms can have far reaching effects on everyday life. This includes:
- Strained communication: common symptoms like tinnitus (a ringing noise in the ears), sounds being muffled and distorted, and difficulty hearing when there is background noise really make it tough to navigate conversations. People use many strategies to cope including lip reading, pretending to hear, always asking others to speak louder or slower etc. This can be exhausting and can easily lead to miscommunication or unpleasant conversations.
- Social withdrawal: to cope with communication challenges, it is common for people to avoid conversation altogether. This includes spending less time with loved ones, not participating in activities or hobbies, and avoiding anything social. Social withdrawal contributes to isolation, loneliness, and other depressive symptoms. It also takes a toll on social life and relationships.
- Effects relationships: communication is foundational for healthy relationships. People often report feeling ignored or unheard by their loved one with hearing loss. Strained communication can prevent people from spending quality time. This can lead to distance, frustration, and tension in relationships.
- Increases health risks: extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss increases a number of health risks. This includes cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, accidental injuries, and falls.
These effects of untreated hearing loss impact all aspects of everyday life. These consequences take a toll on health and quality of life. This highlights the importance of taking action and addressing symptoms as early as possible.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
The first step towards hearing loss treatment is simple: scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any degree of hearing loss you are experiencing and once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider is able to tailor treatment to meet those needs. There are effective hearing solutions that not only transform your hearing, but offer countless benefits that improve your health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. We look forward to helping you prioritize your hearing health.