You know what it’s like to try to disregard a toothache? They can be pretty rough. Before long, you end up having no choice but to see a dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. When you have difficulties reading street signs, you’ll likely schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. But the concern is, when your hearing starts to go you might not have as much urgency.
And that may be a mistake. There are appreciable health problems (particularly mental health problems) that can happen as a consequence of neglected hearing loss. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to address your diminishing hearing if you aren’t aware of it. And there’s the second challenge.
You Might Have Hearing Loss if You Notice These Symptoms
We commonly don’t appreciate our hearing. A loud performance? No biggie. Blasting ear pods? You prefer to listen to your podcasts this way. But every one of those decisions, especially in the long run, is going to have a substantial affect on your general hearing.
It can, unfortunately, be difficult to notice these impacts. The indications 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 make sure you don’t ignore them):
- You can’t maintain a set of earbuds because you keep blowing the speakers
- You encounter unexpected problems with short term memory
- When you’re in a crowded noisy environment you have a difficult time keeping up with conversations
- You feel an inexplicable sense of fatigue or have excessive trouble falling asleep at night
- You frequently have to ask individuals to repeat themselves
- You keep turning up the volume on your television, car stereo, or your smartphone
- Distorted or muffled sounding speech from individuals around you (co-workers, family, friends)
- You have an especially hard time making out consonants when listening to casual speech
It’s pretty well known what these red flags and signs mean. If your loss of hearing comes on particularly slowly, your brain will immediately begin to compensate for any hearing loss that develops, making you somewhat unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why you should schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional because these warning symptoms should be taken seriously.
What Happens if You Ignore Your Hearing Loss?
Some people are, certainly, stubborn. Or they simply don’t like the thought of wearing a hearing aid. They believe that wearing hearing aids makes them appear old. But that’s not really the case (most hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a boon, too).
Still, it’s worth talking about what could occur if you ignore your hearing loss:
- You may have strained relationships: There’s something that happens when you have a difficult time comprehending your friends and family: you begin having fewer conversations with them. You quit saying hi, you stop checking in, you pull away. And that can hurt some of those relationships, specifically if the issue is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not because you’re angry at them).
- You could cause your hearing to get worse: If you don’t utilize hearing aids or enhanced ear protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television up. Or you won’t utilize earplugs when you go to rock concerts. Which means you’ll continue doing damage to your ears and your hearing will almost certainly keep declining because of it.
- Cognitive decline and depression could result: As your relationships falter and going out gets more difficult, you may start to detect symptoms of depression. You may also begin to experience some mental decline without the auditory activation your brain is used to, certain changes start to take place in your neural physiology. This can result in long term cognitive difficulties if your hearing loss isn’t managed.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
In the future, clearly, bigger and more substantial problems can be triggered by hearing loss. But the opposite is true: acknowledging and managing your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life considerably. When you hear better, your relationships get better and your every day life seems fuller. And your general health will be improved by seeing a hearing specialist or at least downloading a noise monitoring app.
Hearing loss is definitely a health condition you shouldn’t dismiss. The sooner you find the right treatment, the happier you’ll be. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.