Have you recently had a struggle to communicate with a loved one? Of course communication struggles can happen for countless reasons, some of them relational, others having to do with the environment. However, some problems in spoken conversation can’t be attributed to the social situation or the place in which the conversation occurs. It is quite possible that your struggle to communicate has to do with a change in your body, specifically your hearing ability.
As we know, hearing loss comes in many forms. In some instances, hearing loss occurs immediately, such as due to a sudden traumatic event. Much more commonly, though, hearing loss is a gradual process associated with the natural progression of aging. With this gradual loss of particular frequencies at specific volume levels, a person undergoing hearing loss may not even be aware that it is happening. Believe it or not, it is possible that others have noticed your hearing loss before you have even become aware of it.
Let’s take a moment to consider some of the risks of unacknowledged hearing loss before turning our attention to the things you can do to come to terms with hearing loss.
The Risks of Unacknowledged Hearing Loss
If you have experienced hearing loss yet have not been able to admit to yourself or others that you are struggling to hear, the effects can be very risky. Of course, the physical risks of unacknowledged hearing loss are undeniable. If an emergency were to occur, your hearing is one of the first lines of defense against danger. Similarly, our ears help alert us to risks in the world as we move about, ranging from an oncoming thunder storm to a car that suddenly turns onto a street while we are crossing.
However, the risks of unacknowledged hearing loss can extend into our personal or social lives, as well. Missing things in conversation or misunderstanding a loved one’s speech can be frustrating and challenging to all involved. This strain on your relationships can lead to not only frustration but also outright mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Those who are unwilling to admit to hearing loss can sometimes find ways to work around missed information, even subconsciously.
These actions of avoidance are sometimes called satisficing, or making due with a limited amount of sensory information. Although it may seem like a good way to work around a problem, satisficing can be correlated with serious cognitive issues and, some researchers suggest, even an early onset of dementia.
How to Come to Terms with Hearing Loss
The first step in coming to terms with hearing loss is overcoming denial. On one level, you may be refusing to admit to others that you are struggling to hear. You might feel ashamed or even afraid of what might happen if your hearing loss gets worst. Although the temptation to look the other way is very real, denying hearing loss only leads to further complications and potentially worsening conditions. The first step for someone facing denial about hearing loss is to have a conversation with someone you love.
You don’t have to immediately admit that you are hard of hearing, but you can benefit from some frank conversation about your experiences. Take the opportunity to describe to your loved one the changes you have experienced. Have you found yourself struggling to understand conversations or missing pieces of information? Don’t be afraid to explain these challenges to your loved one.
Once you have opened a conversation about the situations in which you have had trouble, you are already on the path to finding solutions. Innovations in hearing assistance technology are remarkable, and you might be surprised at how convenient and easy to use some of the latest hearing aids can be.
Seeking Treatment with Pacific Hearing Care
After you have begun the conversation about hearing loss with your closest loved ones, the next step will be to schedule a hearing exam. Our team at Pacific Hearing Care is equipped to determine if indeed you have hearing loss. If you do, we will be able to recommend a course of action to move from loss to regained ability. Contact us today to learn more!