I think I have a hearing problem. What should I do?
It’s important to get help for hearing loss as soon as you suspect you have a hearing problem. If you’re worried about cost, ask if your hearing professional offers a no-cost evaluation for your first visit. You may choose to see an audiologist, ENT or a hearing aid specialist for your first examination. Whomever you decide to call, just remember that early treatment is key. Here’s why:
By the time they’re ready to ask for help, people with hearing loss (and their family members) have already suffered social, psychological, cognitive, financial and health effects related to hearing loss. Early hearing loss treatment is key to preventing the effects listed here.
The social and psychological impacts of hearing loss
Untreated hearing loss can be harmful to relationships. The inability to communicate effectively with others leads to isolation and alienation.
- With untreated hearing loss, the sheer effort required to communicate may cause fatigue, irritability, negativism, anger, tension, stress and depression.
- Because it is so difficult to communicate, hearing loss can lead to avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness.
The cognitive impacts of hearing loss
Many symptoms of the “aging brain,” such as poor memory and the ability to learn new tasks, might actually be signs of hearing loss. Research shows that the ability to think and multitask is diminished when the brain is working overtime to communicate. Those with hearing loss and their family members need to understand that symptoms of cognitive decline may in fact be symptoms of hearing loss.
The impact of hearing loss on job effectiveness and earning power
Untreated hearing loss can also affect the ability to perform work effectively. Studies have shown that a person with untreated hearing loss earns about $23,000 a year less than someone who does not have hearing loss1.
Next: Hearing loss and cognitive decline