You know what it’s like to try to disregard a toothache? They can be quite tough. At some point, you end up having no choice but to consult a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to blur it’s the same. You’ll most likely call an ophthalmologist when you start to have difficulty reading street signs. But the concern is, when your hearing begins to go you may not show such urgency.
And that could be a mistake. Neglected hearing loss can be responsible for significant health issues (especially mental problems). Of course, you can only neglect your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And there’s the second challenge.
Indications You Could Have Hearing Loss
We typically don’t appreciate our hearing. A high volume music festival? No biggie. Blaring ear pods? You like to listen to your podcasts this way. But every one of those choices, especially in the long run, will have a substantial impact on your overall hearing.
It can, regrettably, be difficult to notice these impacts. The signs of hearing loss can be virtually invisible because they sneak up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a smart idea to identify some primary red flags (and to make sure you don’t ignore them):
- You find yourself asking those around you to repeat what they said frequently
- It’s difficult to understand conversations in noisy or crowded environments
- You feel an inexplicable sense of fatigue or have excessive difficulty falling asleep at night
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too loud
- Speech of those around you (friends, family, co-workers) sounds muffled or distorted
- You notice unexpected problems with short term memory
- When you listen to casual speech, you have an especially hard time making out consonants
- You usually have to crank up the volume on your devices
These signs, red flags, or warnings are all fairly well recognized. If your hearing loss comes on particularly slowly, your brain will immediately start compensating for any hearing loss that occurs, making you rather unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s the reason why all of these warning symptoms should be taken seriously, which means you need to schedule an appointment to see your hearing specialist.
What Going to Happen if You Neglect Your Hearing Loss?
Indeed, some people are very obstinate. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is simply too undesirable. They maintain this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some kind of direct sign for old age (as if continuously asking someone to speak up is a sign of everlasting youth). But that’s not really the case (the majority of hearing aids can be very discreet, and being capable of conversing fluently is a benefit, too).
Still, if you neglect hearing loss it may lead to several issues:
- Your hearing may worsen: If you don’t use hearing aids or increased hearing protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television higher. Or you’ll keep going to rock shows without any earplugs. And your hearing will keep declining as you keep to do damage to your ears.
- You could have tense relationships: When you have a tough time understanding what your friends and relatives are saying, something can change in the relationship: you avoid speaking with them. You don’t call to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s happening with them, you disengage. And that can damage some of those relationships, especially if the problem is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not some unexpressed bitterness).
- Cognitive decline and depression could result: You might start to detect signs of depression as your relationships falter and going out gets more challenging. You might also begin to go through some mental decline if your brain doesn’t get the auditory activation that it’s used to, certain changes start to take place in your neural physiology. If your hearing loss isn’t dealt with, it can lead to longterm cognitive concerns.
Don’t Neglect Your Hearing Loss
Clearly, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial problems 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 begin to hear better. 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 neglect the health problem of hearing loss. The sooner you find the right treatment, the happier you’ll be. Manage your hearing loss before it gets too severe to ignore.