You know what it’s like to try to ignore a toothache? They can be pretty rough. At some point, you’re unquestionably begging to go see a dentist. The same thing happens when your eyesight begins to lose focus. When you have difficulties reading street signs, you’ll likely schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist. The concern is, you may not show nearly as much urgency when your hearing begins to go.
And that could be an error in judgment. Neglected hearing loss can be the reason for significant health issues (particularly mental problems). Obviously, you can only ignore your diminishing hearing if you’re actually aware of it. And that’s difficulty number two.
You May Have Hearing Loss if You Detect These Symptoms
We normally take our hearing for granted. A loud concert? No worry. Blaring ear pods? That’s just how you prefer your podcasts. But all of those choices, especially over time, is going to have a considerable impact on your overall hearing.
It can, regrettably, be difficult to detect these impacts. Hearing loss can creep up on you incrementally, with symptoms that progress so slowly as to be effectively invisible. That’s why it’s a smart idea to identify some basic red flags (and to deal with them sooner than later):
- You have an especially hard time hearing consonants when listening to everyday speech
- You continually blow the speakers in your earpods because you need the volume up too loud
- When you’re in a crowded noisy situation you have a hard time following conversations
- Speech of those around you (family, co-workers, friends) sounds muffled or distorted
- You feel an unexplained sense of fatigue or have excessive trouble falling asleep at night
- You keep turning up the volume on your television, car stereo, or your smartphone
- Your short term memory tends to suddenly fail now and then
- You find yourself asking people around you to repeat what they said frequently
It’s pretty well known what these red flags and signs indicate. If your loss of hearing comes on particularly gradually, your brain will immediately begin to compensate for any hearing loss that develops, making you rather unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s why you should make an appointment with your hearing care professional because these warning symptoms should be taken seriously.
What Happens if You Neglect Your Hearing Loss?
Indeed, some individuals are very stubborn. 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 marker for old age (as though constantly asking someone to speak louder is a signifier of never ending youth). But in reality, most modern hearing aids are virtually undetectable (and it doesn’t hurt when you can hear and participate in conversations).
Still, if you ignore hearing loss it could result in several problems:
- Your hearing might worsen: If you don’t use hearing aids or enhanced ear protection, You’ll keep turning up your devices. Or you won’t use earplugs when you go to rock concerts. And your hearing will continue declining as you keep doing harm to your ears.
- Your relationships could diminish: When you have a hard time understanding what your friends and relatives are saying, something can change in the relationship: you begin 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 disengage. And that can damage some of those relationships, specifically if no one has any idea that the underlying cause is loss of hearing (and not because you’re mad at them).
- You could go through depression and cognitive decline: You may start to detect signs of depression as your relationships falter and going out becomes harder. You may also start to go through some mental decline without the auditory stimulation your brain is used to, certain changes start to take place within your neural physiology. This can bring about long term cognitive challenges if your hearing loss isn’t dealt with.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Neglected
Clearly, neglecting your hearing loss can cause bigger and more substantial problems in the future. Conversely, your quality of life can be significantly 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 your overall health will be enhanced by seeing a hearing specialist or at least downloading a noise monitoring app.
You definitely shouldn’t ignore the health problem of hearing loss. A happier life starts when you find the right treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache becomes too painful to ignore.