The warmth of late Spring is finally here and along with enjoying yourself outside in the backyard, for gardening, barbequing or just lounging around, it seems like everyone is out and about again. You may be seeing your neighbors more as they venture out on Sundays to spend time outside and it seems like old friends are reaching out, eager to make Summer plans. However, if you are noticing that it is harder to socialize than in the past it could signal a hearing loss.
Now that the option for socialization is out there, do you find yourself feeling like it just may be easier to stay at home. Do you find yourself withdrawing from conversations because you find them exhausting, or simply pretending to hear what people say, especially when there is a lot of background noise present? You are not alone! One in eight people in the United States between 12 and 69 have hearing loss in both ears, based on standard testing. It can be difficult to admit that you have an issue with hearing, but once you do, there are options on the other side to help you communicate so much clearer.
The Dangers of Denial
Hearing loss in 90 percent of cases is a permanent condition which affects a person’s ability to communicate. We as humans are social creatures and when communication becomes more limited, it not only affects our everyday relationships, but our mood and overall sense of well-being. People with untreated hearing loss struggle with significantly higher rates of chronic depression, social anxiety, loneliness, and self-isolation.
While hearing aids can help to amplify the sounds we struggle with and reduce the social strain in our communication, of those who could benefit 70 years and older, only 30 percent have ever tried them. Even more alarming of those 12-69 who could benefit from amplification with hearing aids, only 16 percent have attempted to use them. Part of what keeps people back from accessing the life changing benefits of hearing aids is stigmatization of hearing loss. People fear that wearing hearing aids will make them seem old, out of date or out of touch. Ironically the opposite is true. When you use hearing aids, you can finally utilize the tools to communicate better, clearer and stay more connected to the conversation.
A Subtly Developing Condition
You may have a hearing loss and not even realize it. This is because hearing loss often develops slowly. At first it may be so subtle you won’t even notice it. It may affect quiet sounds and tones. Your brain often rationalizes and shifts for the loss without you realizing it. However, over time, this can build up into the loss of certain tones common in everyday speech. You may not notice that it takes more effort to follow conversation as your brain scrambles to fill in missing parts of words. However, this has a serious impact not only on your ability to socialize, but on cognitive performance. Studies show that even a mild hearing loss can impact cognitive functioning.
Listen to the People in Your Life
You may not notice the signs of hearing loss. It’s often the people in your life who notice it first. They may not identify it as a hearing loss at first. Instead, it’s common that your family, friends, or significant other will feel as if you are not paying attention. To them, you may seem distracted, or uninterested and this can build up into resentment.
Your hearing loss often manifests as you having to ask the people in your life to repeat themselves over and over, or simply misunderstanding, all too frequently, what they are trying to say. This can be exhausting for both you and the other people in your life, leading to significant rifts in your most important personal and professional relationships.
Addressing a Hearing Loss
On the other side of these rifts and social problems is being proactive about your hearing health. When you take the initiative and address a hearing loss you create a situation for both you and your loved ones to have more nourishing conversations and relationships. To find out if hearing aids are right for you to communicate with added ease, contact us today for a hearing exam!