Without question, issues related to hearing loss can be deeply stressful and even confusing. To make matters more complex, in fact, it is not always clear when hearing aids are necessary to ameliorate hearing loss issues: To wit, there is not always a “line in the sand” to let people know when they need to see a hearing specialist.
Indeed, people often avoid telling a friend or loved one that they appear to be struggling with hearing loss issues.
At the best of times, hearing loss is a sensitive topic to bring up; loved ones often don’t want to cause offense or hurt by addressing the issue. Unfortunately, however, avoiding a discussion about the use of hearing aids can often diminish a person’s quality of life.
Getting to the bottom of this issue can take time and much forethought. But it can be done.
A Common Problem
Firstly, it is important to realize that hearing loss is a much more common issue than you might expect. In the United States alone, around 15% of adults report some degree of personal hearing loss.
Unfortunately, most individuals experiencing issues related to hearing loss will often wait for more than seven years before seeking help for the problem.
To an extent, a certain degree of hearing loss usually arises naturally from the aging process. As we get older, various parts of our body will lose strength, flexibility, or efficacy.
For example, you may notice that your eyesight becomes blurrier as the years pass or that you now need glasses despite never having used them before. You may also notice that you do not recover from exercising as quickly as you did in your early 20s.
These are normal issues that arise as people age. No one is immune to them. So it is with our sense of hearing.
When Hearing Loss Becomes a Problem
However you frame it, aging is not an easy matter to cope with. But hearing loss can be an especially stressful and even devastating part of the aging process.
For example, we often take for granted how much we rely on our ears to conduct our lives. Most human communication involves using our sense of hearing to understand others and to complete important tasks.
When this sense is diminished, in other words, we may find ourselves struggling to move forward with our daily obligations. We may find it difficult to express how we’re feeling to those closest to us. On a certain level, we may find it difficult to fulfill our needs as human beings.
For some people, hearing loss can also feel embarrassing.
Because we may feel self-conscious about misunderstanding what other people are saying, in fact, we may begin to avoid going out in public or interacting with others. We may worry that our behavior is off-putting to others or that we are either speaking too loudly or too quietly when holding important conversations.
The Effects of Hearing Loss
To gain a better understanding of these issues, it is important to consider a few of primary symptoms of hearing loss. These include but are not limited to the following issues:
- Loss of sound articulation
- Loss of volume dynamics
- Difficulty articulating voice
Coping With Tinnitus
While it is not always a part of reduced hearing levels, it is important to note that tinnitus can indicate serious hearing loss issues. Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears that may be exacerbated by stress or illness.
At times, tinnitus may be so quiet that we barely notice it; sometimes, however, tinnitus can be so loud that it disrupts our ability to concentrate or to sleep. Fortunately, there are therapeutic exercises that can significantly reduce tinnitus symptoms.
As another symptom of hearing issues, loss of sound articulation occurs when high frequencies are “shaved off” of speech patterns. When we begin to experience hearing loss, for example, we tend to lose our sense of higher frequencies first.
Difficulty Understanding Speech
For example, we may fully “hear” what someone is saying at what we perceive to be a normal volume; however, something about their speech may seem slightly off and indistinct.
This symptom of hearing loss is the auditory equivalent of motion blur: We may have a general sense of what is being said, but the speech of others will often seem “out of focus” and very difficult to understand.
In actuality, this “blurriness” in speech is one of the most difficult challenges posed by hearing loss; in fact, it is often the symptom that people worry about the most. At work or at home, the inability to properly understand what people are saying can be extremely stressful.
Reduced Speech Volume
When we are in a crowded room, for example, we may struggle to hear what other people are saying. Again, this problem arises due to the “clipping” of high frequencies within our “normal” hearing range. This issue can make attending public gatherings at places like restaurants stressful and frustrating.
Being able to properly hear what others are saying is also only half the battle. When we have difficulty hearing high frequencies, we may struggle to articulate our own voices. We may also have issues related to properly modulating the volume of our speech.
When to Seek Help
The decision to seek help for hearing loss issues is not an easy one. In fact, it may be one of the most difficult decisions that we can make in life. We may have never thought of ourselves as the “type” of person who would wear a hearing aid. We may worry that people will pity us when they see that we are wearing a hearing device.
Nowadays, however, most hearing aids are all but undetectable to the naked eye. Hearing loss is also a common enough problem that many celebrities are speaking up about their own issues with the condition.
Others Who Have Struggled With Hearing Loss
For example, Chris Martin of the band Coldplay has gone public with his issues around hearing loss; the musician of Eric Clapton has also described his struggles with losing his hearing over the last several decades. Throughout much of his life, the composer Ludwig van Beethoven had lost most of his hearing.
At present, famous people such as Jodie Foster, Bill Clinton, and Halle Berry all wear hearing aids. Hearing loss is gaining widespread acceptance as more and more people in public life reveal their own struggles with the condition.
At the end of the day, the decision to pursue treatment for hearing loss is a deeply personal one. But treatment can also benefit our lives in significant ways.
If you feel as though your life is being held back by hearing loss issues, now might be a great time to seek out help. The benefits of treatment can be truly astonishing: We can’t turn back the clock on life; however, we can use the latest hearing aid technology to engage more profoundly with the world around us. That alone can be a truly life-changing experience for the better. Click here to Learn more about hearing aids.