Have you been following all your new year’s resolutions? Many of us spent the holiday season reflecting on the past year, and thinking about what we’d like to improve this next year. Did you make any resolutions about your health? Thousands of Americas resolve each year to eat healthier, be more active, lose weight, visit the dentist, or establish better sleeping habits. One thing we fail to do is resolve to look after our hearing health.
Why are Annual Hearing Tests so Important?
It’s important to test your hearing every year because hearing loss is often a gradual process. You may be struggling to hear, but since the day to day changes in your hearing are small, you might not recognize your hearing loss at first. In fact, your friends and family are more likely to notice your hearing loss, and may comment that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
In the same way that you go to your doctor for an annual checkup, you need to schedule an annual hearing test with your hearing health specialist. This provides you with a baseline for you hearing health, and at subsequent hearing tests you’ll be able to monitor your hearing health, and see immediately if your hearing has changed.
Sadly, many people fail to recognize the signs of hearing loss, and wait far too long before seeking treatment. On average, Americans wait 7 years before visiting a hearing health professional, even if their quality of life has been severely impacted by their hearing loss! Yearly tests will insure that you catch your hearing loss early, and seek treatment before hearing loss affects other areas of your life.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Relationships
For those living with untreated hearing loss, relationships with your friends and loved ones start to suffer. You’re not able to communicate as well as you used to, fail to hear a whispered ‘I love you’, or accidentally ignore your loved ones when they speak to you from across the room. Even if your family knows you aren’t being rude and are struggling to hear, difficulty having a deep conversation can be frustrating for everyone, and leads to tension and miscommunication.
Those with hearing loss often draw back from social situations as well. When you’re struggling to follow conversations, the last place you want to be is in a crowded restaurant scrambling to understand a group conversation. You’ll often get lost and confused, and are worried that you’ll mishear something and answer inappropriately. If you’re living with untreated hearing loss you risk social isolation, as you spend more time at home alone than out with friends. You’re more likely to deal with stress and anxiety, and greatly increase your risk of depression.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Health
Living with untreated hearing loss doesn’t just affect your relationships, it’s also linked to a lot of negative health outcomes. Those with hearing loss are more accident prone, visit the hospital more, and have far higher health care costs. They’re often less mobile, and more likely to suffer from conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
Untreated hearing loss is also closely linked to rapid cognitive decline. Not only are the parts of your brain used to hear not being exercised, but when you’re less social and active other parts of your brain are idle as well. This affects the neural pathways in your brain, and in a sad case of use it or lose it, you’re likely to experience brain shrinkage and brain cell death. You’re more likely to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and this further diminished your brain’s capabilities.
Treating Hearing Loss
The good news is that treating hearing loss will help you avoid these negative outcomes, both in your relationships and your overall health. With a quality pair of hearing devices, you’ll be able to hear clearly, engage with your loved ones, and participate in all the activities you love, keeping your body and mind healthy and happy.
Treating hearing loss as soon as possible is the key to a healthy year, so call us today at La Cañada Hearing to book your annual hearing test, meet audiologist Dr. Kevin Ivory, and find out what treatment options are right for you.