The proliferation of medical information online has given virtually everyone the opportunity to be an amateur doctor. While this information is helpful in many ways and can lead to patients being more informed, it has also proven to be harmful. Often, people will search the Internet for their symptoms, self-diagnose their issues and follow their own course of treatment. As you can imagine, this DIY approach to healthcare can be problematic in a number of ways, but experts are increasingly warning that these practices are particularly detrimental to those who suffer from hearing loss.
Hard to Diagnose
Hearing problems can be difficult for patients to handle on their own for a number of reasons. For starters, many factors can contribute to hearing loss. In fact, hearing can be negatively impacted by physical and neurological problems that, to most of us, would seem to have nothing to do with hearing. Even technicians, who deal with hearing assistive technologies every day, don't have the experience to diagnose the cause of hearing loss in many cases. Therefore, it takes a trained medical professional, such as an audiologist, to identify the exact cause of the problem and refer patients to other specialists who can help with the underlying issues creating the hearing loss.
Problem Getting Worse
With the Baby Boomer generation entering their retirement years, doctors are reporting an alarming increase in patients suffering from hearing loss. Sadly, the Hearing Health Foundation claims that the number of people in the U.S. suffering from hearing loss has doubled in the last 15 years, with more than 50 million Americans now experiencing diminished hearing capacity. But this problem extends far beyond the older generations. There is also an increase in younger people, in their 20’s and 30’s, suffering from noise-induced hearing loss, and many veterans are returning from conflicts overseas with a myriad of hearing complications, including tinnitus.
Decreased Quality of Life
If hearing problems are allowed to worsen, they can lead a significantly decreased quality of life. People who are hard of hearing often have difficulty interacting socially and excelling in the workplace. These difficulties can lead to frustration, and hearing loss sufferers have a tendency to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Additionally, hearing loss has been linked to other medical problems, including dementia.
If you or someone you love currently suffers from hearing loss, it's important to seek medical advice sooner rather than later. Hearing problems are typically degenerative and will continue to get worse without treatment. So consult with your doctor and see what kind of hearing assistive technologies will work best for you.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!