The Cornerstones of Health
The secrets of maximizing your health are hardly secrets at all. Everyone can tell you what foods are healthy and what foods are not. It is much less likely that many of these people could explain to you why exactly some foods are healthy and others aren’t in a meaningful scientific way, how proteins help build muscle or how organs depend on blood flow for example, but that is not the point. The point here is that everyone knows that a healthy diet is a cornerstone of achieving good health and whether or not someone chooses to be disciplined about maintaining a healthy diet is a matter of all kinds of subtle cost/benefit calculations and rarely a matter of ignorance.
And perhaps there is no precise way to measure this, but it seems likely if you were to ask just about anyone on the street what the other core components of a healthy lifestyle are, most people would likely answer proper exercise and getting enough rest. Everyone knows this stuff, right? Whether or not you do get enough exercise or do get enough sleep, that is not because you do not know that doing so is important. You can feel the difference.
But did you know that maintaining your hearing health is just as fundamental to your overall health as diet, exercise, and rest?
Hearing Loss: The Numbers
Exactly how common hearing loss actually is is likely to surprise many people. Just under 14% of everyone in the U.S. aged 18 and above lives with some detectable degree of hearing loss. It is impossible to get an exact number for many reasons, but primarily, and most surprisingly, many of these people do not even know that they are living with hearing loss. Hearing loss most often comes on so gradually over such a long period of time that it is literally impossible for them to recognize. It is much more likely that someone will adapt to their diminished sense of hearing without even recognizing that they are doing so.
But even more surprising and troubling than this is the number of people that fail to treat their hearing loss appropriately. There should be no more stigma to dealing with hearing loss than there is to wearing eyeglasses, but sadly that is not the case. Thanks to the subtlety with which it comes on and a number of psychological barriers, only about 20% of everyone that lives with hearing loss seeks and maintains appropriate treatment.
The Physical Risks of Hearing Loss Are Just The Beginning
It is simple to imagine the physical risks that living with untreated hearing loss bring. Navigating crowds or traffic come to mind immediately. Of course you are the last to hear alarms or sirens warning you of any potential dangers in your environment. But also, our sense of balance depends on our hearing. As we lose hearing, we lose our sense of balance. This means that there are immediate physical risks brought on by hearing loss even if you are in your own home and even if you are alone.
But beyond that, as hearing loss comes on, people begin to find socializing fatiguing. They are likely to not even know why, but they are expending extra energy simply to keep up with conversations. This fatigue motivates them to withdraw socially.
Of course whatever degree of socializing someone has become accustomed to, whether she was an extrovert who needed daily crowds or an introverted who sat with one friend once a week, when that normalized amount of socializing is red ed, it leads to loneliness. And it requires no great stretch of the imagination to see how loneliness leads to depression. And depression is a self-sustaining cycle that warps one’s perspective and kills one’s ambitions.
And on a cognitive level, adapting to hearing loss means that the circuits in your brain that decode and spatialize sound are literally forced to rewire their routes. Such a fundamental change causes disorientation.
Your Career, Your Relationships, Your Quality of Life
There is no more effective way to objectively assess your hearing than making an appointment with one of our specialists today. Maintaining your hearing health will give you an advantage guaranteeing that you are as professionally competitive as you would like to be. It will ease your communication so that all your relationships will deepen with as much nuance and warmth as you desire. And maintaining your hearing health will deepen the ways in which you experience and enjoy your day-to-day quality of life.