Though hearing loss is the third most common chronic medical condition that people experience today; it is often underdiagnosed. 48 million people have some degree of impaired hearing, making hearing loss a pervasive health issue. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 30 million adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Hearing loss can remain unnoticed for quite some time because it typically occurs gradually. Additionally, it can be challenging for people to acknowledge changes to their hearing health which also leads to a delay in treatment. But it is important to know that addressing hearing loss can drastically improve your overall health. Investing in your hearing health not only maximizes your hearing but offers countless benefits that enhance the quality of your daily life!
Signs of Hearing Loss
Being able to recognize the signs of hearing loss is incredibly important! Early intervention can significantly help the transition into better hearing health, preventing impairment from worsening. Common signs of hearing loss include the following:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, or clicking like noise in one or both ears
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices (TV, smartphone, speaker etc.)
- Frequently asking others to speak louder, slower, and/or repeat themselves
- Sounds are muffled or slurred, making it difficult to distinguish individual words
- Needing to move to a quieter setting to hear more clearly
- Struggling to follow conversations, especially in environments with background noise
- Feeling fatigue or stress during and after conversations
- Finding yourself pretending to hear, lip reading, or looking for other nonverbal cues to follow a conversation
These signs or symptoms of hearing loss can be experienced mildly to severely, significantly impacting your capacity to engage in effective communication. Addressing hearing loss can alleviate these symptoms, improving daily life in a myriad of ways.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Treating hearing loss can change your life. Major benefits include:
- Enhances Communication: hearing and communication are critical ways we navigate and make sense of the world. Communication is the foundation for healthy relationships, social engagement, job performance etc. Treating hearing loss alleviates the symptoms that strain communication. Hearing aids, the most common treatment for hearing loss, maximize hearing capacity by helping to absorb, amplify, and process sound. This allows people to hear and respond much more effectively and engage with greater ease.
- Strengthens Relationships: untreated hearing loss often causes stress and tension in relationships. Loved ones can feel ignored or frustrated by the difficulty of engaging in conversation. Symptoms of untreated hearing loss can also cause miscommunication or short interactions that are unpleasant. Treating hearing loss enables people to spend quality time and have conversations that are smooth. Being able to engage in effective communication nurtures relationships and is critical for sustaining these connections.
- Enriches Social Life: one of the most common effects of untreated hearing loss is social withdrawal. Strained communication can make conversations really challenging and exhausting which can cause people to avoid social interaction altogether. This means avoiding social gatherings, skipping out on events, and spending less time with others. Treating hearing loss and being able to hear and communicate clearly alleviates the tension around spending time with others. This allows people to participate with greater awareness and presence, enriching social interactions.
- Improves Health: wearing hearing aids not only improves hearing health but also reduces the risk of experiencing other associated health issues. This includes accidental injuries, cognitive decline, and depression. Research also shows that hearing aids strengthen cognitive abilities and overall brain health. Lastly, treating hearing loss boosts confidence, sense of independence, and general wellbeing!
These benefits profoundly improve the quality and longevity of life. Treating hearing loss is one of the greatest investments you can make in your health.
Taking the first step to address hearing loss is quite simple: schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Conducted by a hearing healthcare provider (like an audiologist), hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing capacity in both ears. This comprehensive test identifies any impairment, the degree, and specific type of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider is able to recommend the most effective treatment option to meet those needs!