If you hurt your hip, avoiding seeking medical attention and continuing to walk around on it will only make the problem worse, especially as your body has to work extra hard in order to compensate for the injury. The same is true for hearing loss. Avoiding treatment can actually make your hearing loss more severe.
What Is Auditory Deprivation
Your brain is used to a certain amount of incoming sound information in order to make sense of the world. These sound signals pass through multiple neural networks throughout the brain to be encoded and integrated.
As the level of auditory signals decreases, which is what happens with untreated hearing loss, the parts of your brain that were responsible for encoding this information can begin to degenerate or waste away.
And so begins a troublesome cycle. Your brain has to start working harder to hear, which causes it to overwork. This forces other neural networks in your brain that are not normally used for auditory processing to assist in this role. While these areas of the brain are busy trying to hear, it becomes harder for you to focus, causing you to miss important information. This can then lead to more damage to the auditory processing center of your brain.
In addition to physical changes and damage to your brain, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness. When hearing becomes difficult, it is easier to stop attending functions, events and social activities. Many with untreated hearing loss find it easier to skip the event at Azteca Music Hall, rather than spending the whole evening trying to keep up with the conversation. And soon you go from declining an event here and there to RSVPing no to all of them.
How to Treat Auditory Deprivation
The best and easiest way to treat auditory deprivation is with the use of amplification. While there are a number of over-the-counter options, the gold standard recommended by hearing professionals is a hearing aid expertly fitted to your unique degree of loss.
A hearing test is the first step in the treatment process. To learn more about auditory deprivation or to schedule an appointment for a hearing exam, contact Ormson Hearing Clinic today.