Woman stubbornly refusing to have her hearing checked even though her daughter is insisting she has hearing loss.

Have you ever tried to disregard a toothache? It can be very difficult. At some point, you’re absolutely begging to go to the dentist. And when your eyesight starts to lose focus it’s the same. When you have problems reading street signs, you’ll most likely make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. The trouble is, you may not show quite so much urgency when your hearing begins to go.

This would probably be a mistake. There are significant health problems (especially mental health problems) that can happen due to neglected hearing loss. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to address your diminishing hearing if you don’t know about it. And that’s difficulty number two.

You Could Have Hearing Loss if You Detect These Symptoms

We typically don’t appreciate our hearing. A loud performance? No big deal.. Blasting ear pods? That’s just how you prefer your podcasts. But your overall hearing will be significantly affected by all of these choices, especially over time.

Regrettably, those impacts could be difficult to notice. Hearing loss can sneak up on you incrementally, with symptoms that advance so slowly as to be effectively invisible. That’s why it’s a smart idea to be familiar with some primary red flags (and to be certain you don’t ignore them):

  • You feel an unexplained sense of exhaustion or have excessive trouble falling asleep at night
  • You keep turning up the volume on your television, car stereo, or your cellphone
  • You have a particularly hard time hearing consonants when listening to everyday speech
  • Distorted or muffled sounding voices from individuals around you (co-workers, family, friends)
  • You notice sudden problems with short term memory
  • When you’re in a crowded noisy environment you have a tough time following conversations
  • You can’t maintain a set of earbuds because you keep blowing the speakers
  • You find yourself asking individuals around you to repeat what they said quite often

These signs, red flags, or warnings are all pretty well recognized. If your loss of hearing comes on particularly gradually, your brain will instantly start compensating for any hearing loss that develops, making you somewhat unaware, at first, to your symptoms. That’s the reason why you should make an appointment with your hearing care professional because these warning signs should be taken seriously.

What Happens if You Neglect Your Hearing Loss?

Some people are, certainly, obstinate. Or they simply don’t like the thought of wearing a hearing aid. They have this fear that wearing a hearing aid is some kind of direct marker for old age (as though continuously asking somebody to speak louder is a signifier of everlasting youth). But that isn’t actually the case (most hearing aids can be quite discreet, and being able to converse fluently is a boon, also).

Still, if you neglect hearing loss it could lead to numerous problems:

  • Your hearing might get worse: Without a hearing aid or enhanced hearing protection, you’ll keep cranking the volume on your television up. Or you won’t use earplugs when you attend rock concerts. And your hearing will keep declining as you continue to do harm to your ears.
  • You may have strained relationships: There’s something that happens when you have a difficult time understanding your friends and relatives: you start having fewer interactions with them. You quit saying hi, you quit checking in, you pull away. Some of those relationships will be ruined, specifically if the problem is hearing loss that you have kept secret (and not because you’re angry at them).
  • You could suffer from depression and cognitive decline: You may begin to notice symptoms of depression as your relationships fizzle and going out gets more challenging. You may also begin to experience some cognitive decline if your brain doesn’t get the auditory activation that it’s used to, certain changes start to take place in your neural physiology. If your hearing loss isn’t dealt with, it can result in longterm cognitive challenges.

Don’t Neglect Your Hearing Loss

Later on, clearly, bigger and more significant problems can be brought about by hearing loss. But the opposite is true: recognizing and managing your hearing loss can improve your quality of life significantly. When you can hear, your relationships get better and your every day life seems fuller. And improving your awareness, either by consulting a hearing specialist or downloading a noise-monitoring app, can improve your overall hearing health.

Hearing loss is definitely a health condition you shouldn’t ignore. A happier life begins when you find the right treatment. Don’t wait until the proverbial toothache gets too painful to ignore.