According to the American Academy of Audiology (2013), untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences and debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss is a harmless condition. A survey done on 2300 hearing impaired adults found that people with an untreated hearing loss were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities – compared to people with a hearing loss who do wear hearing aids.
Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions today and six out of seven adults with hearing loss do not use hearing aids. Significantly more people with a hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids experience feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks and often feel that other people get angry at them for no reason.
The medical effect of untreated hearing loss is called ‘auditory deprivation’:
The haircells in the inner ear that vibrates when sound comes into the ear and is responsible for sending these sounds to the brain, can get ‘lazy’ when they are not stimulated optimally. As soon as a person has a sensory hearing loss, some of the haircells are damaged and cannot send the sound optimally to the brain, resulting in a broken message that is transmitted to the brain. Like any other muscle in your body, if you don’t use your haircells, the function will deteriorate.