Hearing is one of our most important senses, yet many people who are facing its decline deny the inevitable truth for a long time. So the most important step is to acknowledge the fact that you have hearing loss. Otherwise you can’t move on to treatment.
This first step can be the hardest, and it can be a long time before you're ready to take it. But every journey begins with the first step. And once we've diagnosed the cause, there are many paths you can take to minimise the effects.
Although hearing loss affects people in different ways, many studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a number of serious emotional and social consequences:
Irritability, negativism and anger
Tiredness, worry, stress and depression
Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
Difficulties communicating with other people
Social rejection and loneliness
Reduced awareness and increased risk to personal safety
Weakened memory and a decreased ability to learn new tasks
Reduced performance at work or during education
Take a moment to see if you recognise some of these 10 statements:
I often find people around me are mumbling and speaking softly
I have to turn up the volume on my TV, radio and phone
I can't hear what people are saying if they don’t look directly at me
I often need to rest after work or school because I am so tired
I am often uncertain when I am out because I don’t know where sounds are coming from
I have problems recognising speech, especially in gatherings with other people
I often feel depressed and alone
I think it’s very difficult to have a conversation in a crowded place
I often have problems remembering
I feel that my family and friends are tired of repeating everything to me
If some of these symptoms and worries are familiar to you, it is important to seek help. They can all be related to hearing loss.
In addition to affecting your personal and social life, hearing loss affects your daily life at work or school. You need to be able to communicate effectively wherever you are, and whoever you are with - be it your colleagues, clients, or classmates. If you are suffering from hearing loss, your brain needs to work harder to pick out important sounds from the background noise. Office meetings, lectures and other everyday tasks become more demanding and tiring, which can affect how well each task is performed. Hearing aids can help you focus more easily, so you can concentrate with less effort.
"I’m very keen to encourage others to get their hearing checked. You’d get your sight checked the minute you realised there may be a problem, but for many reasons people
delay the process with their hearing. I tell people “It’s no different to wearing glasses, most people don’t notice and the only thing you WILL notice is just how much better life
Hearing aid user
Most people with untreated hearing loss are vulnerable to serious emotional and social consequences. Hearing loss can make a person less tolerant and more irritable, and - if it's left untreated - it often leads to social isolation, low self-confidence, depression, anxiety, frustration and anger. It can even lead to paranoia. Research also clearly shows that people with untreated hearing loss are less likely to join social activities compared to those who wear hearing aids.
Benefits of treatment
Fortunately for you or your loved one, it never has to get this far. As soon as the hearing loss has been acknowledged, you are no longer alone. Many first time hearing aid users find they have increased mental energy, and experience significant improvements in many areas of their lives. These include their relationships at home, their ability to go out, and a sense of independence in both their social life and at work. Just as importantly, the families of hearing aid users notice these improvements too.
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