Have you ever tried to ignore a toothache? It can be pretty hard. Sooner or later, you’re absolutely begging to go see a dentist. The same thing takes place when your eyesight begins to blur. You’ll most likely call an ophthalmologist when you begin to have problems reading street signs. The problem is, you might not show nearly as much urgency when your hearing begins to go.
And that could be a mistake. There are significant health problems (particularly mental health problems) that can develop as a consequence of untreated hearing loss. Naturally, you can only ignore your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And that’s difficulty number two.
Signs You Could Have Hearing Loss
We normally don’t appreciate our hearing. A high volume music event? No biggie. Blaring ear pods? That’s just how you enjoy your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be substantially impacted by every one of these decisions, especially in the long run.
It can, unfortunately, be difficult to detect these impacts. The signs of hearing loss can be almost invisible because they sneak up so slowly over time. That’s why it’s a smart idea to identify some basic red flags (and to take care of them sooner than later):
- It’s hard to understand conversations in loud or crowded settings
- When you listen to casual speech, you have an especially tough time making out consonants
- You feel an inexplicable sense of fatigue or have significant trouble falling asleep at night
- You regularly have to ask people to repeat what they said
- You keep cranking up the volume on your car stereo, television, or your cellphone
- You consistently blow the speakers in your earpods because you need the volume up too loud
- Distorted or muffled sounding speech from people around you (family, co-workers, friends)
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail sometimes
These signs, red flags, or warnings are all pretty 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 why any of these warning symptoms should be taken seriously, which means you need to make an appointment to see your hearing specialist.
If You Ignore Your Hearing Loss, What’s Going Happen?
Some individuals are, certainly, obstinate. Or they just don’t like the idea of wearing a hearing aid. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some sort of immediate sign for old age (as though continuously asking somebody to speak up is a signifier of unending youth). But that isn’t actually the case (the majority of hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a boon, also).
Still, if you ignore hearing loss it may lead to several issues:
- You could have strained relationships: When you have a tough time understanding what your friends and family are saying, something can change in the relationship: you stop talking to them. You don’t call to say hi, you don’t keep up with what’s happening with them, you withdraw. And that can ruin some of those relationships, specifically if no one has any idea that the underlying cause is hearing loss (and not some unexpressed bitterness).
- Your hearing might get worse: Without a hearing aid or enhanced ear protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television up. Or you won’t use earplugs when you attend rock concerts. Which means you’ll continue doing harm to your ears and your hearing will almost certainly keep declining because of it.
- You could suffer from depression and cognitive decline: As your relationships fray and going out gets more difficult, you might start to detect symptoms of depression. You might also begin to experience some cognitive decline if your brain doesn’t receive the auditory activation that it’s used to, certain changes begin to take place within your neural physiology. This can lead to long term cognitive challenges if your hearing loss isn’t managed.
Don’t Ignore Your Hearing Loss
Surely, ignoring your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial issues in the future. But the opposite is true: acknowledging and treating your hearing loss can enhance your quality of life significantly. When you hear better, your relationships get better and your every day life seems more full. And increasing your awareness, either by consulting a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can enhance your overall hearing health.
You definitely shouldn’t neglect the health concern of hearing loss. A happier life starts when you find the right treatment. Manage your hearing loss before it gets too severe to ignore.