Don't Wait to Treat Your Hearing Loss
Because hearing loss often develops gradually, it can be easy to ignore or brush off even after the symptoms become frustrating. In fact, the average person waits approximately ten years after being diagnosed to receive treatment for their hearing loss, allowing their condition to worsen and damaging their chance at recovery.
Considering the prevalence of hearing loss, it is surprising how many people do little or nothing to protect their ears. Nearly one in five Americans has some degree of hearing loss, and among this population only a fraction have ever been fitted with hearing aids. There are many reasons why someone may decide to postpone treating their hearing loss, but early treatment is the most effective way to prevent future complications and protect what remains of your hearing.
Here are some of the major reasons why nobody should ever wait to treat hearing loss:
Hearing aids are more stylish than you may think
Because of the stigma surrounding hearing aid use,many people still have misconceptions about how these devices look and function. Like our smartphones that continue to evolve rapidly year after year, hearing aid developers have also made use of today’s cutting-edge technology to craft units that are discreet, wireless, durable, and more. Those who are worried about being seen with a clunky, banana-shaped device in their ear should do some research into the different types of hearing aid models that are available to suit any lifestyle.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to serious health consequences
In addition to being nearly-invisible, today’s hearing aids can combat the listening fatigue that accompanies hearing loss. Over time, hearing loss causes the brain to struggle when understanding speech and other sounds. This means that a listener must concentrate heavily on an action that was once fluid and automatic, a process that quickly becomes draining. Eventually, the line between speech and noise will become so blurry that it will be almost impossible to distinguish between the two. Once this occurs, even the most advanced hearing aid may not be powerful enough to help your brain readjust to living in a world of amplified sound.
While many elderly people consider hearing loss to be a natural part of aging, this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Left untreated, this type of cognitive strain can cause early deterioration of the mind and increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental disorders. Lack of hearing aid use has also been known to increase the risk of falling among this age group by up to three times. By being fitted with hearing aids immediately after a hearing loss diagnosis, you can postpone or even prevent cognitive or physical issues such as these from ever developing.
Hearing aids can help boost your career and confidence
While it’s easy to imagine that hearing loss is a problem that only affects the elderly, approximately 65% of those affected are below retirement age. As a result, millions of people are currently employed with an untreated hearing loss, costing the U.S. economy billions in lost wages every year. Those who avoid or deny hearing loss are therefore at risk of costing themselves thousands of dollars in annual income by being looked over for promotions or performing poorly in the workplace.
This frustration that results from trouble hearing clients over the phone and following instructions never just stays at work. Hearing loss brings with it a troubling sense of alienation from others, which can quickly develop into a long-lasting sense of depression, coupled with feelings of anxiety and stress. The longer hearing loss goes unaddressed, the more likely it is that issues with mental health and self-esteem will become a concern. By working closely with a hearing care professional and other licensed therapists, anyone with hearing loss can regain the tools for healthy communication and rebuild their confidence at home and on the job.
Be a better listener with hearing aids
Untreated hearing loss affects more than just the individual. Every healthy relationship depends on communication, which can quickly crumble when listening is compromised. One partner regularly feels that their comments are being ignored instead of simply misunderstood, and the other can’t understand why their partner is constantly mumbling and getting aggravated during conversations. Unsurprisingly, countless married couples cite hearing aid use as having saved their rocky relationships. Hearing aid wearers can also expect to strengthen their relationships with friends and family members by being more attentive, sociable, and content in any listening situation.
The first step towards treating a hearing loss is confronting any stigmas or irrational fears one may have about a hearing aid. In a world where people young and old go out with devices in their ear every day, the sleek design of today’s hearing aids will likely go unnoticed in most situations. Wearing a hearing aid is no more embarrassing than wearing eyeglasses, yet many people worry the devices will make them appear old or confused.
Make the right choice for your hearing
If you or a loved one appear to be showing signs of a hearing loss, there’s never been a better time to sit down and have a conversation about taking the next step. Our online locator will help you find a hearing care professional in your area. If you are still unsure whether a hearing aid is right for you, ask about a 30-day trial period at your appointment to see if you can test a hearing device at no additional cost. Don’t wait—the gift of hearing is too precious to waste.