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

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on you, one that goes beyond the inability to hear things. Having difficulty performing daily activities, and strained relationships are some examples of the overall effect of hearing loss.

A study carried out by AARP found that neglected hearing loss had a greater effect on quality of life than:

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Even though it has a negative impact on their lives, many people who have hearing loss don’t get treatment. Researchers have found that many people suffering from hearing loss are still worried about a perceived stigma attached to it. If others find out they suffer from hearing loss, people are scared they will be treated differently. This perception can distort how they view themselves whether they are young or old.

Many Others Also Have Hearing Loss

Nowadays, people are living longer, so there are more individuals around with hearing loss, as well, although it doesn’t just affect seniors. The World Health Organization reports that there are more than 1.1 billion people, many of them young adults, in danger of hearing loss and the public perception that comes with it. Hearing loss is, in fact, one of a young adult’s most significant health threats. Even as the number of people who suffer from hearing loss continues to grow, the resistance to getting help for hearing loss appears to persist. How does this impact one’s overall health?

How Is Hearing Loss Perceived?

A brand that marks someone as inferior is how people with hearing loss feel and that is the actual meaning of stigma. Feeling older, less healthy, and less capable are concerns that many with hearing loss have.

Historically, there is some basis for this concern. A 2010 study found people were not as well accepted when they had hearing loss. But that study uses data nearly a decade old. This perception is changing as hearing loss becomes more widespread. Celebrities openly wear hearing aids and the devices are becoming more cutting edge, stylish, and fun. Research reveals that some other age related health problems, such as dementia, could be slowed or even prevented by seeking treatment. This is changing peoples mind about hearing loss and also their hearts. But still, in spite of changing perceptions, many people still are reluctant to get treatment.

Why Does It Matter?

It is simple to say that perception doesn’t matter, but if this worry is preventing you from seeking help, know that there are health consequences for not getting treatment. People get colonoscopies, according to an AARP survey, more often than they get hearing tests. Not having a hearing exam because you refuse to acknowledge your hearing loss will impact your health as you get older.

Consequences of Undiagnosed or Untreated Hearing Loss

These physical consequences of not dealing with your hearing loss will impact your general health;

Fatigue

Struggling to hear makes just about everything in life more difficult. It’s difficult to try to hear conversations and common sounds. You also have to be extra careful to protect your safety because you can’t hear warning sounds or vehicles coming. All the extra work you put into daily tasks will lead to chronic fatigue.

Migraines

You can get headaches and migraines if you have too much anxiety and tension. Studies have shown a link, though you may not have recognized there was a connection, between certain forms of hearing loss and migraines. Even if you don’t normally get migraines, your brain has to compensate for what you can’t hear, and that effort can make your head hurt.

Mental Health

As a result of your untreated loss of hearing, you may be facing mental health issues like depression and social anxiety. Hearing loss can lead to dementia and frequently results in social isolation. Moodiness and reduced energy levels go along with these other issues.

It is Possible to Overcome The Negative Perception of Hearing Loss

Getting help is the first step to surmounting these negative perceptions. It is possible to treat hearing loss. Understand that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get that treatment.

Not all loss of hearing is irreversible, either, so you could be stressing out over nothing. Something as simple as earwax buildup could be the reason, but you won’t know that unless you schedule an appointment to get a hearing test.

Knowing you have hearing loss is not enough, it’s important to take action. Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes nowadays. If you don’t want others to know about your hearing loss, then get a hearing aid that is less visible.

Most significantly, show everyone that you have plenty of confidence in spite of your hearing loss. Put on your hearing aids and show people you are just as active, happy, and involved as anyone. Everyone who has hearing loss will also be benefited by your actions. Raise awareness and keep healthy by not giving in to negative perceptions.

Hearing loss is a medical condition, not a problem. So see a hearing professional for a hearing test right away.

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