What a challenge it is to sustain three important elements in our lives; our health, wealth and happiness. We seek connection in our lives through our relationships and our shared experiences. Many of us create wealth to invest in our education, home, and health. What we define as happiness rest largely upon our perceptions and value systems but the foundation of health and financial security are commonalities worldwide. How can we become more proactive in our overall well-being so that we can maintain our health both physically and mentally?
When it comes to our hearing health, one of the major pitfalls that can easily be avoided is getting a comprehensive hearing assessment. Many people wait up to an average of 7 years, sometimes more, before attending to their hearing needs such as the procurement and use of hearing aids. What this does is compound hearing loss and create a deepening cycle of communicative decline.
A person suffering from hearing decline will also experience the expansion of the effects of their condition as it permeates their relationships. It radiates into their most intimate to their professional working communications. The results can be devastating to all parties involved.
Hearing loss can inhibit social interactions, cause mental fatigue and leaving them vulnerable to withdrawal and isolation. Partners have also expressed an increase in aloneness and frustration as their loved ones continue to battle their hearing decline. They also show the greatest amount of support when treatment and diagnosis is prescribed and followed. The stress from hearing loss leads to decline in shared activities, sports, family and social gatherings and interpersonal communication. Often the decline in communication results in an increase in conflict, resentment and loneliness.
Changes for the better often occur when the hearing loss is addressed and the use of hearing aids are implemented. The treatment of hearing loss must be specific to the needs of the user and it is urgent that they are attended to sooner rather than later.
Our cognitive health degenerates along with hearing loss. Our brains have been creating pathways for us to register and translate sound from birth and as we accumulate these recognized networks to signal and understand sound, we create a sophisticated library of sound information. This allows us to understand which sounds are warnings for us to be on the alert, a song that brings us joy or the voice of a loved one.
Unfortunately, with hearing loss we receive distorted information and this disrupts and changes the way our brain interprets sound. When this occurs, we have to exert that much more energy in interpreting sound leaving us physically and mentally fatigued.
Noisy backgrounds and regular conversations become obstacles instead of part of our regular social lives. Results from neglected hearing loss can vary from low self-esteem, depression, and strong links have been established with dementia.
Does hearing loss negatively impact income? Yes, it does. Between 1999 and 2002, a study was taken on participants between the ages of 20 to 69. The results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed an income disparity of approximately $8,000 yearly average for those that suffer from hearing loss in the US.
The “devil is in the details” as the saying goes and this is an important element in our professional lives when communication depends upon the facilitation of specifics and logistics. Our sense of hearing is also what we depend upon for nuances and tones that are lost when our hearing declines. Meetings and agendas call upon our ability to hear, engage and produce effectively. A decline in hearing puts all that at risk.
Worldwide, the cost of hearing loss is estimated at US$750 billion by The World Health Organization: “This includes health sector costs (excluding the cost of hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs.”
Invest in yourself
There are “about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids,” but don’t use them, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is that you don’t have to be a part of those statistics at all. Hearing loss can be a slow progression or a quick onset but know that if the condition is addressed it will mitigate the effects. Involve a trusted friend, partner or family member to accompany on your first appointment. Develop an open and honest relationship with your hearing health professional and empower yourself!
At Ear-Tronics we are well-versed in the complexities of hearing loss and its effects. It can be an intimidating process and we are here to help you with any concerns you might have. We look forward to your call and with your first appointment we can begin your journey to a comprehensive assessment and treatment suited to your specific needs. Don’t wait any longer to strengthen relationships with your loved ones and enjoy your time with friends and family!