You know what it’s like to try to ignore a toothache? It can be pretty hard. Eventually, you’re absolutely pleading to go see a dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. When you have problems reading street signs, you’ll likely schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. But the issue is, when your hearing starts to go you may not show such urgency.
This would most likely be a mistake. There are appreciable health issues (particularly mental health problems) that can develop as a consequence of neglected hearing loss. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to address your diminishing hearing if you don’t know about it. And there’s the second problem.
Signs You Could Have Hearing Loss
We typically don’t appreciate our hearing. A loud concert? No big deal.. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you like your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be considerably impacted by all of these choices, particularly in the long run.
Sadly, those impacts might be hard to detect. The symptoms of hearing loss can be virtually invisible because they sneak up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to know some primary red flags (and to be certain you don’t neglect them):
- You find yourself asking individuals around you to repeat what they said quite often
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too high
- When you listen to everyday speech, you have an especially hard time making out consonants
- Speech of those around you (family, co-workers, friends) sounds dull or distorted
- Your short term memory seems to suddenly fail now and then
- You keep turning up the volume on your car stereo, television, or your cellphone
- You have a hard time falling asleep at night and feel fatigued for no apparent reason
- When you’re in a crowded noisy environment you have a hard time following conversations
It’s fairly well known what these red flags and signs mean. At first, you will be somewhat oblivious to your symptoms, especially if they come on gradually, because your brain will instantly start to compensate. That’s why all of these warning signs should be taken seriously, which means you need to make an appointment to see your hearing specialist.
What Happens if You Neglect Your Hearing Loss?
Some people are, indeed, stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is just too unwelcome. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of immediate marker for old age (as if constantly asking people to speak louder is a signifier of everlasting youth). But that isn’t really the case (the majority of hearing aids can be very discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a benefit, also).
Nevertheless, it’s worth discussing what could happen if you neglect your hearing loss:
- 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 don’t call to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s going on with them, you disengage. And that can ruin some of those relationships, specifically if no one has any idea that the root cause is loss of hearing (and not because you’re mad at them).
- You could cause your hearing to get worse: If you don’t utilize hearing aids or enhanced hearing protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television higher. Or you’ll keep intending to rock shows without any earplugs. And your hearing will continue diminishing as you keep doing harm to your ears.
- You could suffer from cognitive decline and depression: You might begin to notice symptoms of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out gets more challenging. You may also start to experience some cognitive decline without the auditory stimulation your brain is used to, your neural physiology begins to experience specific changes. If your hearing loss isn’t addressed, it can result in longterm cognitive challenges.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Ignored
Later on, clearly, bigger and more significant problems can be brought about by hearing loss. But the opposite is true: acknowledging and treating your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life considerably. When you can hear, your relationships improve and your every day life seems more full. And improving your awareness, either by consulting a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can improve your complete hearing health.
Hearing loss is certainly a health condition you shouldn’t dismiss. A happier life starts when you find the right treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.