Hearing loss is a condition that affects millions of people every year and becomes more common with age. Yet many older individuals don’t have conversations about their hearing with their primary care provider. A recent poll showed that 80% of Americans over 50 said their primary care provider hadn’t asked about their hearing in the last two years.
However, untreated hearing loss can have numerous negative effects on your life and even lead to worsening health which is why it’s so important to have these conversations about your hearing health.
Hearing Loss Makes It Harder To Communicate at Work and at Home
Hearing loss makes it harder to understand speech, which can have consequences in every aspect of your life.
If you struggle to understand what’s being said in a work meeting or when talking with a customer, you might start to lose confidence in your ability to do your job effectively. Because you have to work harder to hear, you may be using more of your mental energy and experience listening fatigue earlier than your colleagues with normal hearing.
Even more importantly, it makes it harder to connect with your family and friends. Hearing loss can take a toll on relationships and lead to frequent misunderstandings, frustration and hurt feelings on both sides.
Missing Out Sounds That Bring You Joy
It’s not just that hearing loss makes communication harder, but actively robs you of sounds that bring you joy, like listening to music with your spouse at home or laughing with your grandchildren over slices of pepperoni at Park Pizza.
Hearing Loss and Your Health
Perhaps one of the scarier aspects of untreated hearing loss is that it can lead to other serious health problems. These include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Balance problems and a higher risk of injury from falls
- Cognitive decline and dementia
Signs of Hearing Loss To Tell Your Doctor About
Hearing loss can come on gradually, which is why it’s important to know the signs so that you can mention them to your doctor as soon as you notice them. Signs include:
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Frequently needing others to repeat themselves
- Struggling to follow conversations in places with a lot of background noise
- Needing to turn the volume up louder than you used to on the TV or radio
- Not hearing high-pitched noises like your phone beeping or birds chirping outside
If your doctor is concerned about your hearing, they will likely refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test. The good news is that treatments, such as hearing aids, can help improve your communication with others and benefit your mental, physical and cognitive health.
If you are wanting to schedule a hearing test or have other questions about hearing loss, call Speech & Hearing Associates today.