The Consequences of Hearing Loss Over Time
Written by Laura Abdulnour
Acquired hearing loss is a very sneaky disease that settles slowly over the years. Its outset is subtle, and its consequences develop and worsen over time. Developing a hearing loss has its share of challenges.
In the Beginnings of Hearing Loss (1st year)
Missing a few words here and there, making the people around you repeat what they said more than usual, upping the TV volume… such are the first signs of hearing loss. In the beginning, it can be easy to attribute the symptoms to other factors: the other person speaking too softly, background noise, etc. The beginnings of hearing loss can cause a lot of frustration, not only for the person that suffers from it but also for their friends and family. The person having hearing loss symptoms blames their loved ones for muttering and the loved ones blame the person for not listening properly. In a survey, almost 44% of people with hearing loss said that relationships with their partner, friends, or family had suffered because of the hearing loss. Another survey found that 54% of adults that had recently communicated with a person appearing to have hearing loss found it frustrating.
Consulting an audiologist as soon as these symptoms manifest themselves is the best solution to avoid a lot of troubles to come. Unfortunately, many people wait years before consulting.
After a few years without intervention (9 years and less)
After a few years, with the progression of hearing loss, communication problems happen more often and are more important. All aspects of life are affected: family life, professional life, social life, etc. Frustrating miscommunications increase at home. Advancement opportunities at work are missed or declined. Social gatherings such as dinner parties are avoided by fear of missing too much information and looking bad because of it.
It is at this point that most people decide to seek professional help of an audiologist.
After many years without intervention (10 years and more)
After more than a decade living with untreated hearing loss, communication issues have become major. The person can have drastically limited their social activities, or even cut all social contact except for the close family circle. The person can have isolated themselves because verbal communication has become too arduous and frustrating to deal with. Studies have shown that those with hearing loss have higher risks of developing dementia with time and maybe there is a link with social isolation.
Some people get to the different stages much faster or much slower than others. The number of years given in this article is approximative.