Ask the Medical Experts
Gail Linn, Au.D.
A neighbor recently told me that he was told untreated hearing loss can cause the hearing loss to get worse faster. Is that true?
This is a question I have been asked many times. There is research that shows when the auditory system is not stimulated properly due to hearing loss, deterioration can occur. However, this is an area that needs more research. But there are many more compelling reasons to not let hearing loss go untreated.
We do know that people begin to change the way they interact with the world when they have a hearing loss. Some people will sit back in a corner or start staying home because they feel left out. Others may dominate the conversation because they cannot hear or listen. Many describe feeling embarrassed, nervous, stupid and insecure because of their hearing loss. I’ve known people to stop travelling because they cannot hear announcements in the airport, avoid the theatre and restaurants, and simply become increasingly isolated. I had one gentleman years ago tell me he threw away his antidepressants after he got hearing aids.
Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins released a study in February 2011 showing a relationship between hearing loss and dementia. Lin stated that, although they are not sure of the underlying relationship between dementia and hearing loss, they think, “the strain of decoding sounds over the years may overwhelm the brains of those with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia.”
The overall answer to your question about untreated hearing loss is that there are many negative effects when not addressed