You know what it’s like to attempt to disregard a toothache? It can be very hard. Sooner or later, you’re unquestionably pleading to go to the dentist. The same thing occurs when your eyesight starts to blur. You’ll probably contact an ophthalmologist when you begin to have problems reading street signs. The concern is, you might not show quite so much urgency when your hearing starts to go.
And that may be an error in judgment. There are appreciable health problems (particularly mental health problems) that can develop as a consequence of neglected hearing loss. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to address your diminishing hearing if you aren’t aware of it. And there’s the second problem.
Indications You May Have Hearing Loss
We commonly don’t appreciate our hearing. A high volume music festival? No big deal.. Blaring ear pods? That’s just how you enjoy your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be substantially affected by every one of these choices, particularly in the long run.
It can, unfortunately, be difficult to detect these impacts. The symptoms of hearing loss can be almost invisible because they sneak up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a smart idea to know some basic red flags (and to take care of them sooner than later):
- It’s hard to follow conversations in loud or crowded settings
- You have an especially difficult time making out consonants when listening to everyday speech
- You feel an unexplained sense of fatigue or have excessive trouble falling asleep at night
- You can’t keep a set of earbuds because you keep blowing the speakers
- You always have to crank up the volume on your devices
- You frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves
- Distorted or muffled sounding speech from people around you (family, co-workers, friends)
- Your short term memory seems to suddenly fail now and then
These symptoms, red flags, or warnings are all fairly well known. At first, you will be somewhat unaware of your symptoms, particularly if they come on gradually, because your brain will instantly start to compensate. That’s why any of these warning symptoms should be taken seriously, which means you need to schedule an appointment to see your hearing professional.
If You Neglect Your Hearing Loss, What Will Happen?
Some people are, certainly, stubborn. Or they simply don’t favor the thought of wearing a hearing aid. They think that wearing hearing aids causes them to appear old. But that isn’t really the case (most hearing aids can be very discreet, and being capable of conversing fluently is a benefit, too).
Even so, it’s worth discussing what could happen if you neglect your hearing loss:
- You could have tense relationships: There’s something that occurs when you have a hard time comprehending your friends and family: you start having fewer interactions with them. You stop calling to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s happening with them, you disengage. Some of those relationships will be hurt, especially if no one has any idea that the root cause is loss of hearing (and not because you’re angry at them).
- Your hearing might worsen: Without a hearing aid or increased ear protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television higher. Or you won’t use earplugs when you attend rock concerts. Which means you’ll continue doing harm to your ears and your hearing will almost definitely continue to decline because of it.
- Cognitive decline and depression could result: You may begin to discover signs of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out becomes harder. You might also begin to go through some mental decline if your brain doesn’t receive the auditory activation that it’s used to, your neural physiology begins to experience certain changes. If your hearing loss isn’t addressed, it can result in longterm cognitive challenges.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
Clearly, neglecting your hearing loss can cause bigger and more significant problems in the future. But the inverse is true: recognizing and dealing with your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life substantially. When you hear better, your relationships get better and your daily life seems more full. And increasing your awareness, either by seeing a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can enhance your complete hearing health.
You definitely shouldn’t ignore the health concern of hearing loss. The sooner you find the right treatment, the happier you’ll be. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache becomes too painful to ignore.