Hearing loss is more common than you think. Around 50 million Americans have hearing loss. People of all ages can have hearing loss, and age-related changes to your hearing health can start in your 40s or 50s. Many adults don’t realize just how much their hearing has changed. They avoid getting a hearing exam, and this could make the problem much worse.
Age-Related Hearing Loss is Gradual
Many of us will experience changes in our hearing health as we age. In fact, half of all seniors over the age of 75 have a hearing loss. However, age-related hearing loss is gradual, and we don’t notice it at first. We ask people to repeat themselves, turn up the volume on the TV, and don’t realize that we haven’t heard birdsong in a while. Since hearing loss can be so gradual, it’s hard to admit that you have a problem.
Living with Untreated Hearing Loss
When you’re living with untreated hearing loss, you will face a number of emotional and physical problems. Untreated hearing loss is linked to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and poor family relationships. When you can’t follow conversations, you miss out on important moments in life.
Hearing loss is also tied to a higher risk of injury. When you can’t hear the sounds around you, you may not notice the cyclist coming up behind you, or hear the car coming around the corner too fast. Hearing loss is also linked to poor concentration and memory problems, and can lead to cognitive decline.
Hearing Loss and the Brain
Living with untreated hearing loss affects your brain. When your ears aren’t hearing all the sounds around you, they can’t send complete sound signals to the brain. Areas of the brain that process certain sounds aren’t being stimulated. This can lead to poor brain health, as these areas of the brain can be damaged from lack of use.
When the auditory regions of the brain are affected, the brain has a harder time recognizing speech and processing sounds. As this deterioration continues, it’s even harder for the brain to recover. Avoiding hearing tests could make the problem much worse, and lead to far greater losses in hearing.
Hearing Loss and Dementia
If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, you have a higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a degenerative brain disease that slowly damages cells in the brain. Untreated hearing loss is linked to dementia. Living with hearing loss can have a big effect on your brain. Avoiding hearing tests leads to ongoing deterioration in the auditory regions of the brain. This weakens these areas of the brain, and increases your risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Hearing loss can also make it hard to be social. You feel embarrassed when you can’t hear what someone is saying, and you choose to stay home rather than see your friends. This can also increase your risk of dementia. The brain isn’t getting enough stimulation, and you may experience more cognitive declines.
Noticing the Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to recognize the signs of hearing loss. If you notice any of these signs of hearing loss, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible.
- Difficulty following conversations
- Sounds seem muffled
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Failing to hear someone speak to you from another room
- Turning up the volume on the TV or radio
- Difficulty understanding conversations on the phone
- Having a hard time hearing in places with lots of background noise
If you’ve noticed some of these signs of hearing loss, it’s time to schedule a hearing test. Maybe you haven’t noticed the signs of hearing loss, but your family is complaining that you can’t hear them. Because hearing loss is gradual, your family may actually notice your hearing loss before you do.
Schedule a Hearing Test
The first step in looking after your hearing health is scheduling a hearing test. Call us today to schedule a hearing test and take control of your hearing health. During the hearing test we will test your hearing range and see what sounds you’re missing. Once you learn more about your unique hearing loss, you can treat your hearing loss and get back to enjoying a life full of sound.