You know what it’s like to try to disregard a toothache? It can be very hard. Sooner or later, you’re absolutely begging to go to the dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. You’ll probably contact an ophthalmologist when you begin to have trouble reading street signs. The problem is, you may not show quite so much urgency when your hearing begins to go.
And that could be a mistake. There are appreciable health issues (particularly mental health problems) that can happen due to untreated hearing loss. Obviously, you can only neglect your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And there’s the second challenge.
Indications You May Have Hearing Loss
We normally don’t appreciate our hearing. A high volume music festival? No big deal.. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you prefer your podcasts. But each of those decisions, especially over time, will have a considerable impact on your overall hearing.
Unfortunately, those impacts may be difficult to detect. Hearing loss can sneak up on you gradually, with symptoms that advance so gradually as to be basically invisible. That’s why it’s a good idea to identify some primary red flags (and to be certain you don’t ignore them):
- Speech of those near you (friends, family, co-workers) sounds dull or distorted
- You have a particularly hard time hearing consonants when listening to casual speech
- You have a difficult time falling asleep at night and feel tired for no reason
- You can’t maintain a set of earbuds because you keep blowing the speakers
- When you’re in a crowded noisy situation you have a difficult time following conversations
- You usually need to turn up the volume on your devices
- You notice sudden problems with short term memory
- You regularly have to ask individuals to repeat what they said
These symptoms, red flags, or warnings are all fairly well known. If your loss of hearing comes on especially gradually, your brain will immediately begin to compensate for any hearing loss that develops, making you rather oblivious, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why any of these warning signs should be taken seriously, which means you should schedule an appointment to see your hearing specialist.
What Happens if You Ignore Your Hearing Loss?
Indeed, some people are quite obstinate. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is simply too unwelcome. They believe that wearing hearing aids makes them look old. But in actuality, most modern hearing aids are virtually unseen (and it doesn’t hurt when you can hear and take part in conversations).
Still, it’s worth discussing what might occur if you ignore your hearing loss:
- You could have strained relationships: There’s something that takes place when you have a hard time comprehending your friends and family: you stop speaking with them. You stop calling to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s going on with them, you disengage. Some of those relationships will be hurt, particularly if no one has any idea that the underlying cause is loss of hearing (and not because you’re angry at them).
- Your hearing could worsen: Without a hearing aid or enhanced ear protection, you’ll keep turning the volume on your television higher. Or you won’t utilize earplugs when you go to rock concerts. And your hearing will keep diminishing as you keep doing harm to your ears.
- Depression and cognitive decline could result: You may begin to notice symptoms of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out gets harder. You may also start to go through some cognitive decline if your brain doesn’t get the auditory stimulation that it’s used to, your neural physiology begins to experience certain changes. If your hearing loss isn’t treated, it can lead to longterm cognitive concerns.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Ignored
Surely, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial issues down the road. Conversely, your quality of life can be significantly improved by acknowledging and dealing with 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 seeing a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can enhance your overall hearing health.
Hearing loss is certainly a health condition you shouldn’t neglect. A happier life starts when you find the correct treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.