You know what it’s like to attempt to disregard a toothache? They can be quite tough. At some point, you’re absolutely begging to go see a dentist. The same thing happens when your eyesight starts to blur. You’ll probably contact an ophthalmologist when you begin to have trouble reading street signs. But the concern is, when your hearing starts to go you might not have such urgency.
And that may be an oversight. There are significant health problems (especially mental health problems) that can happen as a result of neglected hearing loss. Obviously, you can only neglect your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And there you have the second problem.
Indications You Might Have Hearing Loss
We tend to take our hearing for granted. A high volume music event? No worry. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you enjoy your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be significantly impacted by each of these decisions, particularly in the long run.
It can, unfortunately, be difficult to notice these impacts. Hearing loss can creep up on you incrementally, with symptoms that progress so gradually as to be effectively invisible. That’s why it’s a good idea to identify some primary red flags (and to be certain you don’t neglect them):
- Distorted or dull sounding voices from individuals near you (co-workers, family, friends)
- You have an especially difficult time hearing consonants when listening to casual speech
- You find yourself asking individuals around you to repeat themselves quite often
- When you’re in a crowded noisy situation you have a tough time following conversations
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you have the volume up too high
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail now and then
- You always need to crank up the volume on your devices
- You feel an unexplained sense of exhaustion or have excessive difficulty falling asleep at night
These signs, red flags, or warnings are all rather well known. At first, you will be somewhat ignorant of your symptoms, especially if they come on gradually, because your brain will instantly begin to compensate. That’s the reason why any of these warning signs should be taken seriously, which means you should schedule an appointment to see your hearing professional.
What Going to Happen if You Neglect Your Hearing Loss?
Some people are, indeed, stubborn. Or the idea of wearing hearing aids is just too undesirable. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of direct marker for old age (as though constantly asking people to speak up is a signifier of everlasting youth). But in reality, most modern hearing aids are practically invisible (and it’s helpful when you can hear and engage in conversations).
Still, if you neglect hearing loss it may result in several issues:
- You could have strained relationships: There’s something that occurs when you have a hard time understanding your friends and relatives: you avoid speaking with them. You quit saying hi, you quit checking in, you distance yourself. And that can hurt some of those relationships, specifically if no one has any idea that the underlying cause is hearing loss (and not because you’re mad at them).
- Your hearing may get worse: Without a hearing aid or enhanced ear protection, You’ll continue to turn up your devices. Or you’ll keep going to rock shows without any earplugs. Which means you’ll keep doing harm to your ears and your hearing will almost definitely continue to decline because of it.
- Cognitive decline and depression could result: As your relationships fray and going out becomes more difficult, you might begin to notice symptoms of depression. You might also start to experience some mental decline without the auditory stimulation your brain is used to, certain changes start to take place within your neural physiology. This can lead to long term cognitive difficulties if your hearing loss isn’t dealt with.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Ignored
Clearly, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial issues down the road. On the other hand, your quality of life can be substantially improved by recognizing and managing your hearing loss. When you can hear, your relationships improve and your every day life seems fuller. And increasing your awareness, either by seeing a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can improve your complete hearing health.
You definitely shouldn’t neglect the health concern of hearing loss. The sooner you find the correct treatment, the happier you’ll be. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache becomes too painful to ignore.