Have you ever tried to disregard a toothache? It can be pretty hard. Before long, you end up having no choice but to consult a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to lose focus it’s the same. When you have problems reading street signs, you’ll likely schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. The problem is, you may not show nearly as much urgency when your hearing begins to go.
This would most likely be a mistake. Neglected hearing loss can be responsible for significant health issues (especially mental problems). Naturally, you can only neglect your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And that’s problem number two.
Signs You Could Have Hearing Loss
We tend to take our hearing for granted. A loud concert? No big deal.. Blasting ear pods? You like to listen to your podcasts this way. But your overall hearing will be significantly impacted by each of these decisions, especially over time.
Regrettably, those impacts may be difficult to notice. The indications of hearing loss can be almost invisible because they creep up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to identify some primary red flags (and to make sure you don’t ignore them):
- Distorted or muffled sounding voices from people around you (co-workers, family, friends)
- You regularly have to ask people to repeat themselves
- You keep turning up the volume on your car stereo, television, or your smartphone
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too loud
- It’s difficult to follow conversations in loud or crowded environments
- When you listen to casual speech, you have an especially tough time making out consonants
- You feel an unexplained sense of fatigue or have excessive difficulty falling asleep at night
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail now and then
It’s pretty well recognized what these red flags and symptoms mean. At first, you will be somewhat unaware of your symptoms, particularly if they come on slowly, because your brain will immediately begin to compensate. That’s why you should schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional because these warning symptoms should be taken seriously.
If You Neglect Your Hearing Loss, What’s Going Happen?
Indeed, some people are very stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is simply too undesirable. They believe that wearing hearing aids makes them appear old. But that isn’t really the situation (most hearing aids can be very discreet, and being capable of conversing fluently is a boon, too).
Even so, it’s worth talking about what might happen if you ignore your hearing loss:
- Your hearing could get worse: Without a hearing aid or enhanced ear protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television higher. Or you’ll keep intending to rock shows without any earplugs. Which means you’ll continue doing damage to your ears and your hearing will almost certainly keep declining because of it.
- You may have tense relationships: When you have a hard time comprehending what your friends and family are saying, something can change in the relationship: you stop talking to them. You quit saying hi, you quit checking in, you pull away. Some of those relationships will be ruined, especially if the issue is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not some unspoken animosity).
- You could suffer from cognitive decline and depression: You may start to notice signs of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out gets more challenging. You may also begin to go through some mental decline without the auditory stimulation your brain is used to, certain changes begin to take place in your neural physiology. If your hearing loss isn’t addressed, it can result in longterm cognitive challenges.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
Clearly, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial problems in the future. But the opposite is true: recognizing and treating your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life substantially. When you can hear, your relationships improve and your daily life seems more full. And improving your awareness, either by consulting a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can improve your overall hearing health.
You absolutely shouldn’t ignore the health problem of hearing loss. A happier life starts when you find the correct treatment. Deal with your hearing loss before it gets too severe to ignore.