If your answer to two or more of the questions is ‘yes’, you should have your hearing ability evaluated.
What happens if I put it off?
“I’m too young!” It’s not bad enough yet!” “No one I know likes their hearing aids!” “We can’t afford it now!”
Statements like the ones above come often from people who recognize the presence of hearing loss but try to find every excuse not to do anything about it. This is procrastination.
Hearing loss often seems like a small problem to many people and it might not be important enough to them to address. They may feel like they are getting along fine with an occasional “what did you say?” or “excuse me?” (Ask your family how occasional it is). Another way of describing this procrastination is called sensory deprivation. Much of how we perceive reality is information sent to our brains from our delicate sensory systems. Impairment to any one of our five senses does result in an altered state of reality. If you miss portions of communication and perhaps do not realize it, you are experiencing one thing while something else entirely may have been intended. When you experience auditory deprivation, your natural instinct is to avoid social situations because just they are uncomfortable. There is now reliable scientific evidence to document the fact that untreated hearing loss can lead to a variety of unhealthy emotional conditions. The Hearing Instrument Association in conjunction with the National Council on Aging ran a study with over 2,000 hearing impaired adults and over 1700 family members. This study concluded that people who suffer from hearing loss were more likely to experience increased anger, frustration, insecurity, nervousness, tension, anxiety, irritablility, discontentment, depression and more likely to be self-critical. Experiencing only one of these would seem enough to inspire one to seek help, but unfortunately, many people with hearing loss tend to experience a variety of these unhealthy emotional states.
In addition, research has shown that failure to stimulate hearing by not wearing hearing devices when needed may result in a more rapid decline in speech recognition. These reports were based on a substantial number of subjects who possessed at least a moderate degree of hearing loss in both ears but received only one hearing aid. As a result of auditory deprivation in the unaided ear, a reduction in speech recognition occurred. In some cases, this was reversible by adding a second hearing aid.
If hearing loss is not addressed as a major health issue, the risks of negative emotional impact are far too great. These are consequences that can be avoided, but often are not because people do not realize the influence of untreated hearing loss. If you are taking time to assess your own communication problems and wondering if you are a candidate for hearing devices – please take the necessary step of contacting us for a diagnostic evaluation – sooner rather than later.