Most often, hearing loss sneaks up on you. Suddenly one day, you notice that you no longer hear the humming of the refrigerator or the birds' singing. On average, it takes 10 years for people with hearing loss to finally do something about it. Many people are simply waiting for the hearing problem to go away. This rarely happens. Untreated hearing loss affects your quality of life, but it also affects the brain's ability to remember common everyday sounds because the hearing channels are no longer effectively used. When the hearing nerves lose their function and no longer channel sound signals to the brain, the brain 'forgets' the sounds over time and becomes unable to understand them.