You know what it’s like to try to disregard a toothache? They can be rather rough. At some point, you’re unquestionably begging to go see a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to blur it’s the same. When you have difficulties reading street signs, you’ll most likely schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. But the concern is, when your hearing starts to go you may not have as much urgency.
This would probably be a mistake. There are considerable health issues (especially mental health problems) that can happen as a consequence of untreated hearing loss. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to address your diminishing hearing if you don’t know about it. And that’s problem number two.
Indications You Might Have Hearing Loss
We tend to take our hearing for granted. A high volume music festival? No worry. Blasting ear pods? You prefer to listen to your podcasts this way. But every one of those decisions, especially in the long run, is going to have a substantial impact on your general hearing.
Sadly, those impacts could be hard to notice. The signs of hearing loss can be almost invisible because they creep up so slowly over time. So you should take some time to learn some primary red flags (and to make sure you don’t neglect them):
- You keep cranking up the volume on your car stereo, television, or your smartphone
- You find yourself asking those around you to repeat what they said quite often
- When you listen to everyday speech, you have a particularly tough time hearing consonants
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too high
- Voices of those around you (friends, family, co-workers) sounds dull or distorted
- It’s difficult to understand conversations in loud or crowded environments
- You notice sudden problems with short term memory
- You feel an inexplicable sense of fatigue or have excessive difficulty falling asleep at night
It’s fairly well recognized what these red flags and signs mean. If your loss of hearing comes on especially slowly, your brain will immediately start compensating for any hearing loss that develops, making you somewhat unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why you should schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional because these warning symptoms should be taken seriously.
What Happens if You Ignore Your Hearing Loss?
Indeed, some people are very stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is simply too unwelcome. They maintain this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of immediate sign for old age (as if continuously asking somebody to speak louder is a sign of never ending youth). But that’s not actually the situation (most hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being capable of conversing fluently is a boon, too).
Even so, it’s worth talking about what might take place if you ignore your hearing loss:
- Your hearing could get worse: Without a hearing aid or increased hearing protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television up. Or you won’t use earplugs when you go to rock concerts. And your hearing will continue declining as you keep to do damage to your ears.
- You could have tense relationships: There’s something that happens when you have a hard time understanding your friends and relatives: you avoid speaking with them. You stop calling to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s going on with them, you withdraw. Some of those relationships will be hurt, specifically if the issue is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not because you’re mad at them).
- Cognitive decline and depression could result: You might begin to notice symptoms of depression as your relationships falter and going out becomes more challenging. You might also begin to experience some mental decline if your brain doesn’t get the auditory activation that it’s used to, your neural physiology begins to experience specific changes. This can lead to long term cognitive problems if your hearing loss isn’t managed.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Ignored
In the future, clearly, bigger and more substantial issues can be caused by hearing loss. Conversely, your quality of life can be substantially improved by acknowledging and treating your hearing loss. Your every day life is more full and your relationships get better when you start to hear better. And improving your awareness, either by seeing a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can improve your overall hearing health.
You definitely shouldn’t ignore the health problem of hearing loss. A happier life starts when you find the proper treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.