If you are in your 40’s or 50’s you may be experiencing the first signs of hearing loss. It can begin with struggling to hear a family member when they are talking in the other room. You may find the need to turn up the volume on the TV, or have receptionists or waiters repeat themselves especially if you’re in a place with a lot of background noise. You may say to yourself; I can still mostly hear the things around me, I don’t need hearing aids yet. However, there are many good reasons to not put off treating your hearing loss!
Hearing aids are for old people, I don’t need them yet
If you’re experiencing some early signs of hearing loss, you may feel resistant to the idea of wearing hearing aids. You may worry they will make you seem old or that they will be uncomfortable. You may be concerned that people will think less of you because of your hearing loss. Hearing loss is much more common than most people think with nearly 50 million Americans of all ages experiencing hearing loss and there are many reasons why treating your hearing loss early can improve your mental and physical health.
Why waiting to get hearing aids is a bad idea.
Hearing loss does not just make it hard to hear people. It can affect the health of your brain, your health overall, even your relationships, and your work!
Hearing Loss and Your Brain
Hearing begins in your ears but much of the processing happens in your brain. Your ears collect the sound waves and send signals to the brain to be interpreted. When you have hearing loss, the brain doesn’t receive any information about certain ranges of sound. This can lead to parts of the brain being under stimulated.
The areas of the brain that aren’t stimulated can begin to atrophy. They can be damaged, or get redirected to helping your brain interpret information from the other senses. This may sound like a good thing, but these changes cause your auditory processing to suffer leading to a worsening of your hearing loss.
Hearing Loss and Your Relationships
You may be able to hear ok, but have a harder time following conversations than you used to. Clear communication is the key to healthy relationships with family and friends, and any hearing loss can disrupt communication. This can cause your relationships to suffer.
Hearing Loss and Your Job
Even mild hearing loss can impact your performance at work. Meetings may become more challenging as you struggle to hear what others say. Phone conversations may become challenging. And on some job sites, your hearing loss could pose a safety risk for you and everyone around you.
Treating Hearing Loss Early
As you notice any changes in your hearing health it is strongly suggested to get treatment immediately. Even though you may be able to hear many sounds around you, you’re missing some valuable input. When was the last time you heard birds singing, or softer sounds like the wind in the trees? When have you last heard someone speaking in another room? You may be missing more than you realize.
Treating hearing loss early is so important to keep the negative effects of hearing loss at a minimum. As you procrastinate getting hearing aids, more and more changes can happen in your brain. These changes are permanent, you’ll never get that hearing back. Those sounds are lost forever, even after you get hearing aids. Treating hearing loss sooner prevents damage in the auditory regions of your brain and helps you maintain the hearing you still have.
Treating hearing loss as soon as you notice it will help you in a myriad of ways. It will help maintain your relationships and communicate with loved ones, maintain your brain health, and continue to do your best at work. If you notice any signs of hearing loss, talk to your doctor about referring you to a hearing specialist and get a comprehensive hearing test. Your hearing professional will help you take the next steps you need to maintain your hearing and your quality of life.