Have you ever tried to ignore a toothache? They can be pretty tough. At some point, you end up having no alternative but to see a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to blur it’s the same. When you have problems reading street signs, you’ll probably schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist. But the concern is, when your hearing starts to go you may not show as much urgency.
This would more than likely be a mistake. There are considerable health problems (particularly mental health issues) that can happen due to neglected hearing loss. Regrettably, it’s pretty hard to address your diminishing hearing if you don’t know about it. And there’s the second challenge.
Signs You May Have Hearing Loss
We typically don’t appreciate our hearing. A loud performance? No big deal.. Blaring ear pods? You prefer to listen to your podcasts like this. But your overall hearing will be significantly impacted by every one of these choices, especially over time.
Unfortunately, those impacts may be hard to notice. Hearing loss can creep up on you gradually, with symptoms that advance so slowly as to be effectively invisible. So you should take some time to educate yourself on some basic red flags (and to make sure you don’t neglect them):
- You usually have to crank up the volume on your devices
- It’s challenging to understand conversations in loud or crowded settings
- You have a difficult time falling asleep at night and feel tired for no apparent reason
- You find yourself asking those around you to repeat themselves quite often
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you need the volume up too high
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail now and then
- When you listen to everyday speech, you have an especially difficult time hearing consonants
- Distorted or dull sounding voices from individuals near you (family, co-workers, friends)
These symptoms, red flags, or warnings are all rather well known. If your hearing loss comes on particularly gradually, your brain will instantly begin to compensate for any hearing loss that occurs, making you somewhat oblivious, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why any of these warning symptoms should be taken seriously, which means you need to make an appointment to see your hearing professional.
If You Neglect Your Hearing Loss, What Will Happen?
Some individuals are, indeed, stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is just too undesirable. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of direct marker for old age (as if continuously asking someone to speak louder is a signifier of everlasting youth). But that isn’t really the case (the majority of hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a boon, too).
Still, it’s worth talking about what might occur if you ignore your hearing loss:
- Your hearing may get worse: Without a hearing aid or increased ear protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television up. Or you won’t utilize earplugs when you go to rock concerts. And your hearing will keep declining as you continue to do harm to your ears.
- Your relationships could fray: When you have a tough time comprehending what your friends and family are saying, something can change in the relationship: you start having fewer conversations with them. You quit saying hi, you quit checking in, you pull away. Some of those relationships will be hurt, particularly if no one has any idea that the root cause is loss of hearing (and not because you’re angry at them).
- Depression and cognitive decline could result: As your relationships falter and going out gets more difficult, you may begin to experience signs of depression. You might also begin to go through some mental decline without the auditory stimulation your brain is used to, certain changes begin to take place in your neural physiology. This can bring about long term cognitive difficulties if your hearing loss isn’t dealt with.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
Later on, clearly, bigger and more substantial problems can be triggered by hearing loss. Conversely, your quality of life can be significantly improved by recognizing and dealing with your hearing loss. Your daily life is more full and your relationships get better when you start to hear better. And increasing your awareness, either by consulting a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can enhance your overall hearing health.
You absolutely shouldn’t ignore the health concern 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.