Acknowledging the Reality of Hearing Loss
No one wants to hear that they are losing their hearing. Hearing loss makes it hard to do many things in daily life. Living with hearing loss means getting around problems at home, at work, with friends and family, and often when doing our favorite things and hobbies. Even though hearing loss can be bad news, there is good news.
When you discover hearing loss, working on getting a better hearing is a gift to your health. You can lessen the harmful effects of hearing loss on your life by recognizing it and getting help for it. On the other hand, ignoring your hearing loss and not getting it treated can make your hearing much worse.
Early treatment leads to better outcomes.
The earlier you find out you have hearing loss and get treatment for it, the easier it is for you to get used to the treatment. This is because as hearing loss gets worse, it changes how our brains are wired and affect our thinking.
Most of the way we hear is done in the inner ear, where tiny hair cells are tuned to pick up different sound frequencies and send signals to the brain’s auditory cortex to be interpreted. When hair cells are damaged, people often lose their hearing for good. Once damaged, hair cells can’t fix or replace themselves.
Over time, if we don’t do anything about hearing problems, they change how our brains understand sounds. When we can’t recognize sounds as well as we used to, our brains only get some of the information they need to figure out what a sound means. Our auditory cortex needs help from other brain parts to put together pieces of speech and understand what they mean. As the auditory pathways change to compensate for the hearing loss, the neural pathways used for hearing health break down and are re-used for other brain functions.
The brain relies on ways to make up for missing auditory information. This means that the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the less like our “natural” way of hearing becomes. The less we let our hearing change, the easier it is to fit treatment for hearing loss into our lives. Most people who use hearing aids find it easier to get used to hearing with a device if they start treating their hearing loss as soon as possible.
Good hearing for good holistic health
Your hearing is not a separate part of your health. Instead, it is tied to your overall health and quality of life in a way that can’t be separated. Hearing loss that isn’t taken care of can affect you socially, mentally, and physically.
If you don’t get your hearing loss treated, it can make it hard to talk to the people closest to you. Hearing loss that isn’t treated makes you much more likely to be alone, depressed, and anxious. Hearing loss that isn’t treated can make it hard to find your way around new places and understand what people are saying, making it harder to communicate and often making anxiety worse. In the same way, having trouble communicating and being understood can make it hard to interact with other people and lead to social isolation. Hearing loss that isn’t treated can put people under much social and public pressure, leading to depression.
Hearing loss can affect how you think, which can have physical consequences. Hearing loss changes how our mental energy is used, taking us away from hearing well and having a healthy brain. When more brain power is used to put together pieces of sounds, other essential brain functions, like balance and coordination, get less attention. Because of this, older people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to fall and hurt themselves.
Hearing loss stresses the brain, making it more likely that a person will get dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Are you ready to take charge of your hearing loss?
Have you recently been told you have hearing loss, or do you think you might have a hearing problem that needs to be fixed? If so, you need to do something! Recognizing hearing loss is the first step to finding solutions and getting your hearing health back.
Our hearing clinic is the place to go if you need help with your hearing. We know that choosing how to treat hearing loss is a big decision, so we work with your needs and lifestyle to help you find a treatment that works for you.