You know what it’s like to try to ignore a toothache? They can be quite rough. Sooner or later, you’re absolutely pleading to go see a dentist. And when your eyesight begins to lose focus it’s the same. When you have problems reading street signs, you’ll likely make a consultation 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 an oversight. There are considerable health issues (particularly mental health problems) that can develop as a consequence of neglected hearing loss. Obviously, you can only ignore your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And that’s problem number two.
Indications You Could Have Hearing Loss
We often take our hearing for granted. A high volume music event? No biggie. Blaring ear pods? You like to listen to your podcasts like this. But all of those decisions, especially in the long run, is going to have a substantial impact on your overall hearing.
Unfortunately, those impacts could be hard to notice. The symptoms of hearing loss can be almost invisible because they creep up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a smart idea to identify some primary red flags (and to deal with them sooner than later):
- You have a hard time falling asleep at night and feel exhausted for no apparent reason
- Speech of those around you (friends, family, co-workers) sounds muffled or distorted
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail now and then
- You usually have to crank up the volume on your devices
- You find yourself asking individuals around you to repeat what they said frequently
- You have a particularly hard time hearing consonants when listening to casual speech
- It’s difficult to follow conversations in noisy or crowded surroundings
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too high
These symptoms, red flags, or warnings are all rather well recognized. At first, you will be somewhat ignorant of your symptoms, especially if they come on gradually, because your brain will immediately begin to compensate. That’s the reason why you should make an appointment with your hearing care specialist because these warning signs should be taken seriously.
If You Neglect Your Hearing Loss, What Will Happen?
Some people are, certainly, stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is simply too undesirable. They maintain this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some kind of immediate sign for old age (as if constantly asking someone to speak up is a sign of everlasting youth). But in reality, most contemporary hearing aids are virtually undetectable (and it’s helpful when you can hear and take part in conversations).
Even so, it’s worth talking about what might occur if you ignore your hearing loss:
- You could cause your hearing to get worse: Without a hearing aid or enhanced hearing protection, You’ll continue to turn up your devices. 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 definitely keep declining because of it.
- You could have tense relationships: When you have a hard time understanding what your friends and relatives are saying, something can change in the relationship: you start having fewer interactions with them. You don’t call to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s going on with them, you withdraw. And that can ruin some of those relationships, specifically if no one has any clue that the root cause is hearing loss (and not some unexpressed animosity).
- You could suffer from depression and cognitive decline: You may begin to discover symptoms of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out gets more challenging. You may also begin to experience some mental decline if your brain doesn’t receive the auditory stimulation that it’s used to, certain changes begin to take place within your neural physiology. This can result in long term cognitive problems if your hearing loss isn’t dealt with.
Don’t Neglect Your Hearing Loss
Down the road, clearly, bigger and more significant issues can be caused by hearing loss. But the inverse is true: acknowledging and dealing with your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life substantially. Your every day life is more full and your relationships get better when you start 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 definitely a health condition you shouldn’t neglect. The sooner you find the proper treatment, the happier you’ll be. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.