If I Can Still Hear, Is it OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids?

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If I Can Still Hear, Is it OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids?

If I Can Still Hear, Is It OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids
Peter Lucier, HIS

There is a spectrum of hearing loss that ranges from mild to profound. Symptoms and experiences of navigating daily life with impaired hearing is informed by the degree and type of hearing loss one has. This means that a person can hear decently and still have hearing loss which is why putting off treatment is dangerous for hearing health. People often assume that because they may experience some signs of hearing loss but can still hear, there is no urgency around seeking treatment. 

But it is important to know that though it may start by having difficulty hearing someone in another room or needing to increase the volume on the TV, it can escalate to not being able to follow a conversation or significantly struggling to participate in social activities. Intervening as early as possible can profoundly help your transition into improved hearing health!

Recognizing Hearing Loss Symptoms 

Being able to recognize hearing loss symptoms is a useful way to acknowledge what you are experiencing. Hearing loss reduces a person’s ability to hear and process incoming sound. This creates a number of symptoms that include the following: 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing, ringing, or clicking like noise that is heard in one or both ears 
  • Increasing the volume on electronic devices like your phone, speaker, TV etc. 
  • Asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder or slower
  • Sounds are muffled so it is hard to hear individual words 
  • Moving to a space that is quieter so you can hear better 
  • Struggling to follow conversations, especially in settings with background noise 
  • Finding yourself lip reading to identify words 

These symptoms can be experienced lightly or more significantly depending on your specific hearing loss. It is important to note that you can still be able to hear and also navigate these other symptoms simultaneously.  

Impact of Putting Off Hearing Aids 

Delaying treatment and living with untreated hearing loss can have drastic effects, the impact may be larger than you realize. Untreated hearing loss can: 

  • Strain communication: hearing loss symptoms create various challenges to engaging in conversation. A reduced capacity to hear causes people to overwork themselves in trying to hear: lip reading, following nonverbal cues, pretending to hear etc. These strategies are not only unsustainable but can lead to serious fatigue. This can also contribute to miscommunication, the other person feeling like you are not listening, and an overall reduced quality of conversation. 
  • Lead to social withdrawal: because conversations are difficult to navigate, people with untreated hearing loss commonly avoid them altogether. Avoiding social interaction, events, and being with others is a major effect of untreated hearing loss. Social withdrawal significantly contributes to isolation, depression, and loneliness. This impacts mental health and daily wellness. 
  • Impact your brain: hearing loss not only happens in your ears but also your brain. The ears absorb sound waves and send these signals to the brain. The brain then processes and assigns meaning to these signals which enables us to understand what we hear. So when there is hearing loss, the parts of the brain that are responsible for the auditory system are not being fully stimulated. This lack of utility can impact cognitive abilities and brain health. This increases the risk of experiencing cognitive decline and developing conditions like dementia.

Untreated hearing loss can also affect job performance and relationships. It is incredibly important to be as preventative as possible by treating hearing loss early!

Treating Hearing Loss Early 

You should seek hearing healthcare as soon as you recognize any symptoms. Even if you can still hear ok, you could actually not be hearing lots of different sounds around you. Early treatment also prevents you from experiencing more of the significant effects of untreated hearing loss. The longer you put off being evaluated by a hearing healthcare specialist, the greater the risks become around your overall health. 

The first step is simple: schedule a hearing test! Hearing tests involve a noninvasive and painless process that evaluates hearing capacity in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss, the degree of impairment, and the specific type of hearing loss you are experiencing. Then we are able to make recommendations to effectively meet your hearing needs and transform your hearing health! Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

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