You know what it’s like to try to ignore a toothache? It can be very hard. Eventually, you’re unquestionably pleading to go see a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to lose focus it’s the same. You’ll probably call an ophthalmologist when you start to have problems reading street signs. But the problem is, when your hearing starts to go you might not have such urgency.
This would probably be an oversight. There are considerable health issues (especially mental health issues) that can develop as a consequence of neglected hearing loss. Of course, you can only ignore your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And there’s the second challenge.
Indications You Might Have Hearing Loss
We normally don’t appreciate our hearing. A high volume music event? No biggie. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you like your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be considerably impacted by each of these choices, particularly over time.
It can, unfortunately, be hard to detect these impacts. The symptoms of hearing loss can be virtually invisible because they creep up so slowly over time. So you should take some time to educate yourself on some basic red flags (and to take care of them sooner than later):
- Distorted or dull sounding voices from people around you (family, co-workers, friends)
- It’s hard to understand conversations in loud or crowded environments
- You experience sudden problems with short term memory
- You continually blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too high
- You keep cranking up the volume on your car stereo, television, or your smartphone
- You feel an inexplicable sense of fatigue or have excessive difficulty falling asleep at night
- You have an especially hard time making out consonants when listening to everyday speech
- You find yourself asking people around you to repeat themselves frequently
It’s pretty well recognized what these red flags and signs mean. At first, you will be somewhat unaware of your symptoms, particularly if they come on gradually, because your brain will immediately begin to compensate. That’s the reason why any of these warning symptoms should be taken seriously, which means you should make an appointment to see your hearing specialist.
If You Ignore Your Hearing Loss, What’s Going Happen?
Indeed, some individuals are quite stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is just too unwelcome. They maintain this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some kind of immediate sign for old age (as though constantly asking people to speak up is a signifier of unending youth). But that’s not actually the situation (the majority of hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a boon, also).
Nevertheless, it’s worth discussing what might occur if you neglect your hearing loss:
- Your hearing might worsen: If you don’t use hearing aids or increased hearing protection, You’ll continue to turn up your devices. Or you won’t use earplugs when you go to rock concerts. Which means you’ll keep doing harm to your ears and your hearing will almost certainly continue to decline because of it.
- Your relationships could diminish: There’s something that happens when you have a difficult time comprehending your family and friends: you start having fewer interactions with them. You stop saying hi, you quit checking in, you distance yourself. And that can hurt some of those relationships, particularly if no one has any idea that the root cause is loss of hearing (and not some unexpressed bitterness).
- You could go through cognitive decline and depression: As your relationships fray and going out becomes more challenging, you might start to detect symptoms of depression. You might also start to experience some cognitive decline without the auditory activation your brain is used to, your neural physiology begins to experience specific changes. This can bring about long term cognitive difficulties if your hearing loss isn’t treated.
Don’t Ignore Your Hearing Loss
Surely, neglecting your hearing loss can cause bigger and more significant issues later on. On the other hand, your quality of life can be substantially improved by recognizing and managing your hearing loss. Your every day life is more full and your relationships improve 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 complete hearing health.
You absolutely shouldn’t neglect the health concern of hearing loss. The sooner you find the proper treatment, the happier you’ll be. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache becomes too painful to ignore.