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

Your life can be profoundly affected by hearing loss, in a way that goes beyond the inability to hear. The loss of your hearing will impede day-to-day pursuits and can stress relationships.

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

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

Hearing loss, when left untreated, can really get in the way of your lifestyle, nevertheless, there are many who don’t get help. A perceived stigma attached to loss of hearing is one reason why people who have hearing loss don’t seek out the treatment they need, say researchers. If others find out they suffer from hearing loss, people are afraid they will be treated differently. This perception can change how they view themselves whether they are 8 or 80.

Many Other People Also Have Hearing Loss

Although it can impact people of every age, it is true that as lifespans grow longer there are more instances of hearing loss. 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, as a matter of fact, one of a young adult’s leading health threats. Even as the amount of people who have hearing loss keeps increasing, the resistance to getting help for hearing loss seems to persist. How is one’s general health impacted?

How Is Hearing Loss Perceived?

By definition, stigma means a brand that marks someone as inferior and that basically says it all. Lots of people with hearing loss are concerned they will seem older than they actually are, less healthy, or less able.

Historically, there is some basis for this concern. A 2010 study found when people have hearing loss they were not as well accepted. But the data from this study is almost a decade old. This perception is changing as hearing loss is becoming more commonplace. Celebrities openly wear hearing aids and the technology is becoming more cutting edge, stylish, and fun. Other health issues relating to aging, like cognitive decline and dementia may be delayed or even prevented by getting treatment, according to research. This is also helping to improve the perception. Some people still don’t seek help in spite of this research.

What Difference Does it Make?

Don’t allow your anxiety about negative perception stop you from getting treatment or you might suffer long-term health consequences. More people get colonoscopies than hearing tests according to an AARP survey. Not acknowledging your hearing loss, not getting a hearing exam and seeking treatment will take a physical toll, especially over time.

Consequences of Undiagnosed or Untreated Hearing Loss

These physical consequences of not taking care of your hearing loss will impact your general health;

Fatigue

In life, everything is more challenging if you are struggling to hear. You have to work more than other people to hear conversations and sounds. Because you can’t hear traffic or that person coming up behind you, you need to put more effort into staying safe as well. Just working hard to hear common sounds can induce chronic fatigue.

Common Headaches and Migraines

Stress and fear can cause migraines and other types of headaches. You might not realize there is a correlation, but studies have demonstrated a link between migraines and certain kinds of hearing loss. The constant extra effort by your brain to make up for sounds you can’t hear can cause your head to hurt even if you don’t normally get migraines.

Mental Health

As a result of your untreated loss of hearing, you may be facing mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety. Social isolation is worse when you have hearing loss and it can also lead to dementia. Moodiness and reduced energy levels go hand-in-hand with these other issues.

Surmounting Negative Perceptions of Hearing Loss

Surmounting these negative perceptions starts with getting help. If you are losing your hearing, it’s probably a treatable condition. Recognize that you are the one that suffers if you don’t get help.

There may not even be a reason to stress out since not all loss of hearing is permanent. You won’t know what the issue is unless you schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. It could be simple earwax buildup.

Make sure you deal with it if it turns out that you do have hearing loss. Nowadays you can get hearing aids in many shapes and sizes. Less conspicuous styles are available if you feel concerned about people knowing you have hearing loss.

Most significantly, show everyone that you have lots of confidence in spite of your hearing loss. You should wear your hearing aids with confidence because when you can hear, you will be just as active and healthy as anyone else. Your mindset will change people’s perception not just of you, but of everyone who experiences hearing loss. Negative perceptions are social poisons so be strong and raise awareness to change them.

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

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