How a Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Life – Part 1
Hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. Affects can range from simple misunderstandings to full withdrawal from family and friends and major depression. Some people might say hearing loss is just one of those things you have to deal with as you age. Dealing with hearing loss, without professional medical assistance, can lead to many major problems in life with relationships and social situations.
Certain types of hearing loss are minor and can often go ignored or undiagnosed for many years. Lower levels of hearing loss can include tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, or muffled sounds. These types of hearing loss generally do not cause symptoms which would immediately indicate the need for medical intervention. Many aging adults who experience minor hearing loss buy into the TV commercials for hearing assistance devices; using these types of devices to make sounds marginally clearer and more distinguishable. Unfortunately, minor hearing loss rarely remains a minor situation. Any type of hearing loss needs to be professionally diagnosed and monitored for progression into more extensive hearing loss. Even minor hearing loss should be treated to keep the auditory system functioning with the brain.
Other types of hearing loss have more of a noticeable effect on the patient. Hearing loss is considered more than minor when it affects the patient’s ability to understand spoken conversation and other ambient sounds. Even when the hearing loss is at this extent, patients will often go for years without being diagnosed. Patients would rather smile and nod, not really understanding what is being said to them, than wear one of those ugly hearing aids. When the hearing loss gets to the point where the patient is unable to hear conversation, they will often start to withdraw from conversation and social situations altogether. Patients are often not aware there are modern, often unnoticeable hearing aids that can be worn to greatly increase their ability to interact with others.
Even severe hearing loss is sometimes not enough to get the patient to the doctor for a diagnosis. These patients are already at the point where they are constantly anxious, often upset and may have already started the slide into depression. Friends and family of these patients may find them unresponsive and difficult to communicate with. These patients may also unknowingly be living in danger of serious injury or death. With more profound hearing loss high pitched sounds, such as smoke and fire alarms, are almost impossible to hear. This lack of ability to hear can cause a seriously dangerous situation for patients with hearing loss who continue to live alone.