Hearing loss is generally a slow and insidious process. Because deterioration occurs over a long period of time, the individual becomes accustomed to accommodating for the loss and may not realize how bad their hearing has become. Unfortunately, the effects of untreated hearing loss are serious.
Untreated hearing loss is dangerous and can lead to a variety of health issues. Incidents of serious depression are higher in those with untreated hearing loss. As it becomes more and more difficult to hear, the individual begins self-isolating, withdrawing from family and friends as their frustration grows. The result is a loss of warmth in their relationships that contributes to further feelings of isolation. Disagreements over hearing loss are also common, as the individual struggles to come to terms with their loss. This vicious cycle has a profoundly detrimental impact not only on the wellbeing of the individual, but on loved ones as well.
Additionally, a recent study by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging found a correlation between untreated hearing loss and a loss of cognitive function, noting a higher risk of developing forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's. Auditory deprivation, which is what happens when the brain no longer receives appropriate auditory stimulation, leads to diminished cognitive function. Auditory stimulation is critical in maintaining healthy brain function.
Reversing the Effects of Hearing Loss
The good news is that many of the issues experienced due to untreated hearing loss can be halted and in some cases, reversed when the individual is fitted with bilateral hearing aids.
Many wearers report feeling re-energized by hearing the world in a way they have not experienced it for many years. Once auditory stimulation is restored, cognitive abilities can sometimes be regained through special exercises.
Johns Hopkins Study of 2011.