How Untreated Hearing Loss Can Impact Aging Adults
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 25% of adults between 65 and 74 years of age and 50% of adults age 75 and older experience significant hearing loss. Although hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age, it is one of the most common conditions impacting aging adults. While hearing loss can be treatable with hearing aids, many seniors do not treat their hearing loss. In fact, the NIH reports that less than a third of seniors with hearing loss use hearing aids. Furthermore, most adults diagnosed with hearing loss are slow to treat it and often go up to 10 years after their diagnosis to seek hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can lead to emotional and physical health issues in aging adults.
The Emotional Impact Untreated Hearing Loss
Although it may seem minor at first, hearing loss impacts the way older adults interact with their environment and how they are treated by others. Adults dealing with age-related hearing loss may find it difficult to participate in conversations or to receive instructions, impacting their ability to function in social situations. Aging adults with hearing loss are sometimes stigmatized as being "slow" or in cognitive decline. Aging adults are aware of these negative perceptions and it can be harmful to their well-being. Taken together, these can contribute to feelings of loneliness, anger, frustration, and depression.
The Physical Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss
The emotional toll of hearing loss can also spill over into physical health, causing older adults to be more withdrawn and less physically active. Untreated hearing loss also impacts balance in older adults, which may lead to more falls. Luckily, the NIH has found that hearing loss treatment has been shown to help reduce negative emotions, improve social relationships, and impart a sense of control over life events.
How to Manage Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is often treated using hearing aids, but scheduling appointments can be difficult and providers may not seem integrated into the community. The audiologists at High Level Speech & Hearing Center are community-driven leaders in speech and hearing services in New Orleans. We offer aural therapy and other hearing services, including helpings patients find the hearing aids that perfectly meet their needs. We allow walk-ins for hearing services, and we accept Medicaid. Contact our Uptown or Harahan office to schedule a hearing assessment.