Why a Mild Hearing Loss Is a Major Problem
Catch it Early; Treat it Early
What is a mild hearing loss?
Mild hearing loss typically happens over time and can be gradual and painless. It may feel as though people around you are mumbling or like your ears are plugged (kind of the same as after you’ve had a nice swim in the pool). If you have trouble hearing when there is a lot of background noise, you probably have a mild hearing loss. Do you find that you are listening more carefully to conversations? Do you expend extra energy to understand what is being said? All of this is attributed to a mild hearing loss and can lead to fatigue and other costly ailments. If you can relate to any of the above, it’s time to catch it early and treat it early.
Dr. Frank Lin is one of the world’s leading experts on hearing loss. Dr. Lin and his team at John Hopkins first discovered the connection between hearing loss and the brain. The longer you decide to put off treating your hearing loss, the more likely it is that you are going to suffer the negative consequences to both your overall wellbeing and your mental health.
When you go out to dinner, do you have issues hearing your loved ones or friends during the conversation? Do you find yourself turning up the volume on your radio or T.V.? Do you have to work hard to hear on the telephone?
These are all common symptoms of hearing loss. It is widely established that those with hearing loss frequently will not or just do not address these symptoms until they become so obvious that it can no longer be ignored. In fact, the average individual waits approximately seven years from the initial symptoms to actually seek help. Some go as long as ten years! That is way too long to miss out on conversations, experience the joy of your favorite songs or shows, the joy of singing birds or simply the comforting words of your pastor or spiritual advisor.
At least 3 in every 4 people undergo a hearing evaluation at some point but never actually take the steps to get the necessary treatment. The reasons cited often include:
- Financial – Hearing aids can be costly and are not always covered by insurance. However, there are many cost-effective options available to help make it more affordable.
- Age – “I’m not old enough to wear hearing aids!” Today’s hearing aids are tiny, discreet, and barely noticeable. Besides, doesn’t being confused and disengaged make you seem older anyway?
- Having Bad Technology in the Past – Many people have, or know those who have, not been fitted properly in the past, and their hearing aids end up in a drawer never to be seen again. Do not let this dissuade you from getting the help you need. Seeing an audiologist who knows what they are doing can literally save you a lifetime of frustration.
When is the best time to treat hearing loss?
The simple answer is – as soon as possible! Hearing loss is associated with increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease, falling, and the development of dementia. The longer you wait, the more you are depriving the brain of proper auditory stimulation, often referred to as auditory deprivation. Your brain is not getting the proper auditory stimulation and auditory cues that it needs to run at 100%. The brain is a remarkably simple “use it or lose it” mechanism, and auditory input can help to provide the proper, constant stimulation our brains are accustomed to and designed to receive.
Hearing is not a sense to take for granted. Yet the statistics are alarming—is it estimated that only 20% of individuals with hearing loss actually seek medical treatment. Without the proper treatment of hearing loss, the brain is being asked to work on overload constantly. Living with untreated hearing loss is like asking your brain to drive 60MPH in second gear. In neuroscience, we call this “cognitive overload”—asking the brain to process auditory, visual, and other cues just to put together a simple sentence.
Hearing loss, for some reason, seems to be the perfect thing for patients to try and put off “until next year.” Patients will try to rationalize their hearing loss by saying “this is normal for my age” or “everybody mumbles”. If patients do not understand the unintended consequences of waiting to treat hearing loss and the medical conditions associated with hearing loss, how can they be expected to understand the importance of starting treatment of hearing loss today!
Treating hearing loss early has many advantages. It cannot prevent further damage caused by our genetics or prior exposure to loud noise, but it can help maintain clarity and fine resolution of speech understanding as the disorder progresses. Maintaining the strength and vitality of neural connections of the ear to the brain is key to the successful treatment of hearing loss.
Early Treatment Improves Quality of Life
Pertinent studies all indicate that when hearing aids are appropriately fit, they will considerably improve quality of life, personal relationships, better psychological wellbeing, and higher incomes. Treating early will also reduce the risk of other health problems related to hearing loss including, but not limited to, diabetes, dementia, dizziness or balance issues, heart disease and falls.
Treating hearing loss when you are younger has significant advantages including:
- Having a better understanding of how your technology works.
- Lessened risk of social isolation and depression.
- Enhanced relationships with family and friends.
- Improvement in cognitive abilities.
Keep in mind that children also experience mild hearing loss, and they need to be monitored and treated for it before it becomes a major problem. Hearing loss in children can be part of a development disorder and should never be put off as “typical childhood problems”.
Why Mild Hearing Loss Should be Addressed Immediately
Again, a mild hearing loss can turn into a major problem! It is well worth worrying about as it can eventually lead to embarrassment, misunderstandings, isolation, and so much more.
In the long run, seeking an evaluation now will be much easier than living with a future of uncertainty and challenge.
The bottom line—if you feel that you or your loved one may have hearing loss, do not wait until it is too late! Request your new patient appointment here www.appointmentrequest.com and start your journey TODAY!