Have you ever attempted to disregard a toothache? They can be pretty tough. At some point, you end up having no choice but to see a dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. You’ll probably call an ophthalmologist when you start to have difficulty reading street signs. The concern is, you may not show quite so much urgency when your hearing begins to go.
And that could be an oversight. Untreated hearing loss can be the reason for considerable health problems (especially mental problems). Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to address your diminishing hearing if you aren’t aware of it. And that’s difficulty number two.
You May Have Hearing Loss if You Detect These Symptoms
We tend to take our hearing for granted. A high volume music festival? No big deal.. Blaring ear pods? That’s just how you like your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be significantly impacted by all of these decisions, particularly over time.
Sadly, those impacts might be hard to detect. Hearing loss can sneak up on you gradually, with symptoms that advance so gradually as to be effectively invisible. That’s why it’s a good idea to know some basic red flags (and to make sure you don’t neglect them):
- You keep turning up the volume on your television, car stereo, or your cellphone
- You have a particularly difficult time making out consonants when listening to casual speech
- You find yourself asking people around you to repeat what they said quite often
- You experience sudden issues with short term memory
- You feel an inexplicable sense of exhaustion or have significant difficulty falling asleep at night
- You continually blow the speakers in your earpods because you need the volume up too loud
- Distorted or muffled sounding voices from individuals around you (family, co-workers, friends)
- It’s difficult to understand conversations in loud or crowded surroundings
These signs, red flags, or warnings are all pretty well recognized. If your loss of hearing comes on especially slowly, your brain will immediately start compensating for any hearing loss that occurs, making you rather unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why all 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?
Some individuals are, indeed, obstinate. Or they simply don’t favor the concept of wearing a hearing aid. They maintain this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of direct marker for old age (as if constantly asking someone to speak up is a sign of everlasting youth). But that’s not really the situation (most hearing aids can be very discreet, and being capable of conversing fluently is a benefit, too).
Still, if you ignore hearing loss it could result in several issues:
- You may have strained relationships: When you have a tough time understanding what your family and friends are saying, something can change in the relationship: you start having fewer interactions with them. You stop calling to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s happening with them, you disengage. Some of those relationships will be ruined, particularly if the problem is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not because you’re mad at them).
- Your hearing might get worse: Without a hearing aid or increased ear protection, you’ll keep turning the volume on your television up. Or you’ll keep going to rock shows without any earplugs. Which means you’ll continue doing harm to your ears and your hearing will almost definitely continue to decline because of it.
- You could go through cognitive decline and depression: You might begin to discover signs of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out becomes more challenging. You might also begin to experience some cognitive 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 managed.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
Surely, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial problems later on. Conversely, your quality of life can be considerably 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 your general health will be improved by seeing a hearing specialist or at least downloading a noise monitoring app.
You absolutely shouldn’t ignore the health problem 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.