Man with hearing loss looks concerned but won't get hearing aids.

Loss of hearing can have a significant impact on you, one that goes beyond the inability to hear things. Relationships can be stressed and day-to-day pursuits can be interrupted by hearing loss.

A study conducted by AARP found that quality of life is more seriously impacted by hearing loss than:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer

The loss of hearing, when left untreated, can definitely get in the way of your lifestyle, yet there are many people who don’t get help. A lot of people who suffer from hearing loss avoid getting help because they believe that there is a stigma attached to hearing loss, according to researchers. If others find out they have hearing loss, people fear they will be treated differently. A distorted self image can be formed as a result of this perception, impacting the young and the old.

Many Other People Also Have Hearing Loss

As lifespans get longer, hearing loss has become more commonplace, in spite of the fact that it can effect people of any age, The World Health Organization reports that over 1.1 billion people are in danger of hearing loss and the perceptions that come along with it, many of them young adults. Hearing loss is, as a matter of fact, one of a young adult’s leading health threats. The resistance to getting help persists while the amount of people with hearing loss increases. What is the effect on overall health?

What is The Perception of Hearing Loss?

The story is pretty well demonstrated by the very definition of stigma, which is a brand that marks someone as inferior. Feeling older, less healthy, and less capable are concerns that a lot of people with hearing loss have.

Historically, there is some foundation for this worry. A 2010 study found when people suffer from hearing loss they were not as well accepted. But the data from this study is nearly 10 years old. This perception is improving as hearing loss becomes more commonplace. Cutting edge, stylish, and fun technology is now available that even has celebrities visibly wearing hearing aids. Other health concerns relating to aging, like cognitive decline and dementia could be delayed or even prevented by getting treatment, researchers say. This is also helping to change the perception. Some people still don’t seek help in spite of this research.

Does it Even Matter?

It is easy to say that perception doesn’t matter, but if this anxiety is stopping you from getting help, understand that there are health consequences for not getting treatment. An AARP survey found that more people consent to getting colonoscopies than they do hearing tests. Not acknowledging your hearing loss, not getting a hearing test and seeking treatment will take a physical toll, especially over time.

Untreated Hearing Loss, What Are The Consequences?

Your overall health will be affected by these physical consequences;

Fatigue

Finding it difficult to hear makes just about everything in life harder. You have to work harder than others to hear conversations and sounds. It becomes necessary to put more effort into staying safe, too, because you can’t hear that vehicle coming or someone walking up from behind you. Just working hard to hear everyday sounds can cause chronic fatigue.

Common Headaches and Migraines

You can suffer from headaches and migraines if you have too much fear and stress. Studies have shown a link, though you may not have recognized there was a connection, between some forms of hearing loss and migraines. The constant extra effort of your brain to make up for what you can’t hear can cause your head to ache even if you don’t normally get migraines.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are some mental health problems you could also end up facing as a result of untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss can lead to dementia and usually causes social isolation. Moodiness and reduced energy levels go hand-in-hand with these other issues.

The Negative Perception of Hearing Loss Can be Overcome

Taking the first step and seek out help if you want to overcome these negative perceptions. Hearing loss is treatable. Accept that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get that treatment.

You also could be stressing for no reason because not all hearing loss is permanent. Something as basic as earwax buildup may be the reason, but you won’t know that unless you schedule an appointment to get a hearing test.

If you find out you do have hearing loss, do something about it. Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes these days. If you don’t want others to be aware of your hearing loss, then look for devices that are less obvious.

Most importantly, show everyone that you have lots of confidence in spite of your hearing loss. Put on your hearing aids and let everyone know you are just as active, happy, and involved as everyone else. The perception of people who have hearing loss will be changed if you act like this. Boost awareness and keep healthy by not surrendering to negative perceptions.

Hearing loss is not a personal weakness it’s a medical condition. So see a hearing professional for a hearing exam right away.

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