Acknowledging the Reality of Hearing Loss

January 14, 2023
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Recognizing the signs and acknowledging the reality of hearing loss can be challenging. Impacting over 48 million people, hearing loss is the third most common health condition people experience today. But it still remains widely undertreated, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. Acknowledging changes to hearing health can be overwhelming which often contributes to a delay in treatment. Untreated hearing loss can have significant effects on everyday life, health, and wellness. Hearing loss symptoms strain communication which can take a toll on relationships, social life, and health. Identifying symptoms and intervening early can significantly transform your overall health and quality of life.

Understanding the Reality of Hearing Loss

It takes an average of 7 years for people to address their hearing loss symptoms. This highlights how common it can be to ignore symptoms and delay treatment. Extensive research shows that there tends to be inaction when it comes to hearing loss. A recent study that explores this was conducted by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. A nationally representative sample of nearly 2,500 adults were surveyed about their hearing loss. Key findings include:

  • 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared to 6 in 10 adults who have had their vision tested.

  • More than 51% of people reported hearing issues but only 11% have sought treatment.

  • 78% of those with hearing issues have been experiencing these challenges for 1 or more years, and over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years.

These findings reveal that hearing health is not as prioritized and that symptoms are often ignored. This study also highlighted that a lack of acknowledgement of hearing loss (and the seriousness of the condition) contributed to delayed treatment.

Recognizing Early Signs

Being able to clearly identify signs of hearing loss can help you acknowledge and recognize what you are experiencing. Common symptoms include:

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing like noise in one or both ears.

  • Sounds are muffled or distorted.

  • Difficulty hearing in environments with background noise.

  • Increasing the volume on the TV and/or other electronic devices.

  • Asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder.

  • Feeling excluded or lost during conversations.

  • I Need to move to a quieter space to have a conversation.

  • Lip reading to help identify individual words.

  • Pretending to hear.

  • Shortening and/or avoiding conversations.

These symptoms can be mild to more profound, depending on the degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. To cope with symptoms, people often avoid conversations as much as possible. This includes spending less time with loved ones, participating less in activities, and avoiding social settings. Social withdrawal is a major effect of untreated hearing loss. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is important to have your hearing health comprehensively evaluated.

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

There are effective hearing solutions that can transform your health. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These electronic devices provide the ears and brain with ample support by absorbing and processing incoming sound. This helps alleviate symptoms and increase hearing capacity. Today’s hearing aids are likely more innovative than you imagine. There is a range of styles and features that are designed to easily integrate into everyday life. Many of today’s hearing aids are sleek and offer savvy technologies that deliver sharp sound quality. Hearing aids support hearing needs in everyday environments, allowing people to navigate safely and comfortably.

Treating hearing loss offers numerous benefits. This includes strengthening communication and improving relationships. Hearing aids maximize hearing ability and allow people to navigate conversations with greater capacity and support. This enables people to spend quality time with others and fully participate in conversations as well as activities which support connection and closeness. Additionally, hearing aids increase spatial awareness which supports people navigating everyday life independently and safely. Another important benefit of treating hearing loss is that it improves overall health and wellness. Treatment alleviates the health risks that untreated symptoms contribute to. Studies show that hearing aids also strengthen cognitive functions and brain health as well as improve mental health.

Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today

Acknowledging the reality of hearing loss can be tough. But it is important to remember that effective treatment is available to you. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. We look forward to helping you prioritize your hearing health.