You know what it’s like to try to ignore a toothache? They can be pretty tough. Before long, you end up having no other option but to consult a dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. You’ll probably contact an ophthalmologist when you begin to have problems reading street signs. But the concern is, when your hearing starts to go you may not have as much urgency.
And that could be an error in judgment. There are significant health problems (particularly mental health issues) that can develop as a result of neglected hearing loss. Naturally, you can only neglect your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And there you have the second problem.
You May Have Hearing Loss if You Notice These Symptoms
We often take our hearing for granted. A high volume music event? No worry. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you enjoy your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be considerably impacted by every one of these decisions, particularly in the long run.
It can, regrettably, be difficult to notice these impacts. Hearing loss can creep up on you gradually, with symptoms that progress so slowly as to be essentially invisible. So you should take some time to learn some primary red flags (and to take care of them sooner than later):
- It’s challenging to follow conversations in loud or crowded settings
- You always need to crank up the volume on your devices
- Voices of those near you (friends, family, co-workers) sounds muffled or distorted
- You can’t keep a set of earbuds because you keep blowing the speakers
- You feel an inexplicable sense of exhaustion or have significant difficulty falling asleep at night
- You have a particularly difficult time hearing consonants when listening to casual speech
- Your short term memory seems to suddenly fail sometimes
- You find yourself asking people around you to repeat what they said quite often
It’s pretty well known what these red flags and signs mean. At first, you will be somewhat unaware of your symptoms, especially if they come on gradually, because your brain will instantly start to compensate. That’s the reason why any of these warning signs should be taken seriously, which means you need to make an appointment to see your hearing professional.
If You Ignore Your Hearing Loss, What’s Going Happen?
Some people are, certainly, stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is just too undesirable. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some kind of immediate marker for old age (as if constantly asking people to speak up is a signifier of unending youth). But that’s not really the case (the majority of hearing aids can be very discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a benefit, too).
Nevertheless, it’s worth talking about what might take place if you ignore your hearing loss:
- You could cause your hearing to worsen: Without a hearing aid or increased hearing protection, you’ll keep turning the volume on your television higher. Or you’ll keep going to rock concerts without any earplugs. And your hearing will keep declining as you continue doing harm to your ears.
- You could have strained relationships: When you have a difficult time understanding what your friends and family are saying, something can change in the relationship: you avoid speaking with them. You don’t call to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s happening with them, you disengage. 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 signs of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out becomes harder. You may also start to experience some mental decline if your brain doesn’t get the auditory stimulation that it’s used to, certain changes start to take place within your neural physiology. This can result in long term cognitive difficulties if your hearing loss isn’t dealt with.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Ignored
Clearly, neglecting your hearing loss can cause bigger and more significant issues later on. On the other hand, your quality of life can be considerably improved by recognizing and managing your hearing loss. Your every day life is more full and your relationships improve when you begin to hear better. 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 definitely a health condition you shouldn’t dismiss. A happier life starts when you find the correct treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache becomes too painful to ignore.