Hearing Loss is Common
It surprises many people to learn that hearing loss is among the most common disabilities, affecting almost 14% of everyone in the U.S. aged 18 and above. This likely means that you know at least a few people that struggle with hearing loss and you didn’t even know it.
There are quite a few explanations for this. Hearing loss is an invisible disability, meaning you won’t know that someone has hearing loss just by looking at them. And it is commonly under-represented and misrepresented in popular culture, meaning that no way are 14% of all the characters you see on TV and in movies living with hearing loss, and when one occasionally is it is probably a defining characteristic in a way that it does not need to be in real life.
Hearing loss may refer to a wide range of conditions. Each individual’s experience with hearing loss is just as specific to them as any of the other factors that determine their singular experience of life on earth. So it follows logically that each person’s treatment plan should be uniquely tailored to suit their exact needs as well.
But research has proven that only a small minority of everyone with hearing loss seeks out and maintains an appropriate treatment plan. In fact, it is only about 20%. This means that around 80% of everyone with hearing loss either does not know that they are suffering from it, they are in denial about it, or minimizing its severity. Without proper treatment, the consequences of hearing loss will compound, damaging every dimension of your health and quality of life.
Hearing Loss and Your Mental Health
A few consequences of hearing loss will hit you quickly. You will have trouble maintaining your balance and will likely feel dizzy. Your spatial awareness will be warped, heightening the likelihood of bumps or falls. You will feel clumsy and slow and you will feel confused about why this is, and together these feelings will damage your mental health.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines mental health as “including our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
Taking this into account it should be no great surprise that compromised mental health expediently leads to an overall compromised quality of life.
The Compounded Consequences of Hearing Loss
When minimized or ignored, the damage that hearing loss causes spirals into every aspect of your life. When it first comes on, more likely than not, one will not consciously recognize what it is happening. They will begin to withdraw socially because conversations in public, competing with background noise, especially with two or more people, will fatigue them. This is thanks to the extra mental energy being exerted simply to follow a conversation, reading lips and filling in dropped words using context clues. These corrective measures are happening unconsciously.
Their relationships will suffer. And their professional life may suffer. And all of this makes them feel frustrated and out of control. This leads to feelings of loneliness, which causes depression. And depression, warping your sense of perspective and scale, causes damaging side effects.
No Matter Your Age, Take Immediate Action
With appropriate treatment, hearing loss should impact your life no more meaningfully than wearing eyeglasses does. Hearing loss comes on so gradually, there is rarely a single moment of recognition that inspires someone to take corrective action. But isn’t the true same of your vision? You get annual physicals, eye exams, and dental checkups. Why should your hearing health be treated any differently? There is no more accurate way to get an objective assessment of your hearing health than making an appointment with one of our specialists.
Even if your hearing loss seems to be minor, minimizing its seriousness will present profound risks. Senior citizens aged 75 and above are more likely to experience hearing loss than not, and failing to treat it appropriately heightens the risk of losing one’s final years to dementia and isolation. And without meaningful intervention at the earliest possible moment, hearing loss will damage normal developmental progress in children.
There is no excuse good enough. Make an appointment today to take control of your mental health and quality of life.