Someone with untreated hearing loss is up to 50% more likely to end up in the hospital. In fact, you are twice as likely to suffer from dementia when you have untreated hearing loss and are also more likely to suffer from equilibrium issues, putting you at increased risk of accidents.
The good news is up to 75% of the cognitive issues that are linked to hearing loss can be treated with medical-grade hearing aids. Awareness and balance will be restored, and brain functionality will also improve in as little as two weeks.
In some cases, the hearing loss may be caused by an infection. The person may also have a congenital hearing disorder or defect. As well, blunt force trauma, such as being involved in an accident, may cause damage to the inner ear.
What are the impacts of untreated hearing loss?
People with untreated hearing loss may become reclusive. They may suffer from outbursts of rage and aggression. Many may feel hopeless and lost, and may develop clinical depression as a result.
They may avoid social situations in order to avoid possibly being embarrassed or left out during a conversation. Stress and fatigue are also fairly common with people who suffer from untreated hearing loss.
In addition to being withdrawn, tense, and lonely, they may be less productive at work, assuming they are able to remain employed. The risk of personal harm is also increased amoung those who suffer from untreated hearing loss.
What are the different types of hearing loss?
Conductive hearing loss develops when sound isn’t able to move from the outer ear to the middle ear bones and eardrum. Certain medical interventions may be able to successfully treat conductive hearing loss.
People with conductive hearing loss will usually have trouble hearing muffled or soft sounds. In some cases, a doctor can treat acute conductive hearing loss with antibiotics. In other cases, a more permanent solution may be needed, such as cochlear implants.
Conductive hearing loss is sometimes caused by excess wax accumulation. Swimmer’s ear and certain ear infections may also cause it. Even certain allergic reactions can trigger conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs due to damage to the brain’s nerve pathways or to inner ear structural damage. Unlike conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is usually a permanent condition.
Even loud or normal sounds may seem unclear or muffled to the patient. Sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by aging or certain birth defects. It may also be caused by trauma to the skull or head, certain diseases, or working around very loud noises (for example, at a construction site).
As for mixed hearing loss, the patient will suffer from sensorineural and conductive hearing loss simultaneously.
How can hearing loss be tested?
Your doctor may refer you to an audiologist in order to undergo testing. They will discuss your medical health and will perform hearing tests in order to identify the source and extent of your hearing loss.
They may recommend a hearing assistance device, such as a hearing aid. Hearing rehabilitation may also be suggested. Hearing rehabilitation helps the patient adjust to hearing aids and their hearing loss.
The therapist will teach you how to read lips and how to accurately read visual cues in order to improve your communication skills.
Inner ear hearing loss may sometimes require surgery. For example, a surgeon may implant a cochlear implant into the patient’s ear. If certain medications are the cause of your hearing loss, then your doctor will prescribe different medications.
If you are dealing with an ear infection, then you will be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If loud noise is the cause of your acute hearing loss, then you may be prescribed corticosteroids in order to reduce swelling.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding exposure to loud noises and environments. Avoid using your headphones for too long, and adjust volume-control settings to protect your ears. Wear protective headgear, such as earmuffs or earplugs, in order to protect your ears while you work.
A hearing test helps your doctor identify the cause of your hearing loss, as well as the severity of your condition in order to prescribe the correct treatment.
Protect Your Ears
In sum, hearing loss can affect your mental and physical health. It increases the risk of mortality and hospitalization. It will also impact your social life. You may be unable to perform well at school or at work.
If you suspect that you may be dealing with either acute or chronic hearing loss, then make an appointment with your doctor or an audiologist. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you will get the help that you need and deserve.
From hearing aids and medication to therapy and surgery, there are many different treatment options available for patients with hearing loss.