Nearly 50 million Americans have hearing loss, so it really shouldn’t be a huge surprise if we start noticing some hearing loss. Hearing loss is more common as we age, and by the time we reach 75, we have a 1 in 2 chance of having hearing loss. Since hearing loss is so prevalent, why is acknowledging the reality of hearing loss so hard?
It’s Not Easy to Talk about Hearing Loss
Many of us have a hard time talking about hearing loss. In fact, 2 out of every 3 people with hearing loss do their best to avoid talking about their hearing! But this isn’t true of other ailments. For example, if the world is looking a little blurry, you’re quick to visit the optometrist and get new glasses.
So why is hearing different? There’s still a stigma around hearing loss, and many people think admitting to their hearing loss is a sign that they’re getting old. They don’t want to be judged for their hearing loss, or have your friends and family treat them differently.
Hearing Loss Doesn’t Make You Old
Hearing loss isn’t about age. Millions of people of all ages have hearing loss for all sorts of reasons. Some people are born with hearing loss or develop hearing loss as children. Teens and young adults may have noise induced hearing loss. They attend loud concerts and sports events, or listen to music for many hours every day using personal listening devices. All these loud sounds can damage their ears and lead to hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss is very common, but it’s not really about age. Age-related hearing loss usually starts in your 40s or 50s, so it has nothing to do with being old. The point is, hearing loss can happen to anyone, and it often starts when you’re young. Blaming yourself for hearing loss, or thinking it makes you seem old doesn’t help. Acknowledging the reality of hearing loss is the first step to looking after your hearing health.
Learn to Recognize the Signs of Hearing Loss
On average, people take 5 to 7 years from when they notice their hearing loss until they decide to seek treatment! During these years they struggle to follow conversations, can’t hear in places with background noise, have increased fatigue, and have higher rates of stress and anxiety.
The first step to accepting hearing loss is to learn to recognize the signs of hearing loss. The signs of hearing loss include:
- Having a hard time hearing during conversations.
- Feeling like sounds are distorted or muffled.
- Having a hard time hearing in places with lots of background noise.
- Turning up the volume on the TV or phone to try to catch more of what’s being said.
- Sleeping through the alarm clock in the mornings.
- Failing to hear soft sounds like the ticking of the turning signal in your car.
These are just a few of the signs of hearing loss to watch for. If you notice these signs, it’s time to schedule a hearing test and find out more about your hearing.
Let Your Family Help
When you open up about your hearing loss, you’ll realize your family and friends are very supportive. They want you to participate in family conversations and hear during dinner. They can even help you get to appointments, give a second opinion about your hearing aid options, and help you while you’re adjusting to your new hearing aids.
Treating Hearing Loss
When you acknowledge the reality of hearing loss, you’ll have lots of treatment options! Rather than pretending to hear, feeling fatigued, and missing out on all the fun, treating hearing loss can give you your energy back. You’ll catch every word being said, and easily jump into conversations. And you’re not alone in having hearing loss. Ask your friends if anyone has been having a hard time hearing. You may be surprised by the answers you get.
When you’re ready to treat your hearing loss, visit us! Our hearing health specialists will help you find out more about your hearing loss. A comprehensive hearing test can show you exactly what sounds you’re missing. Then, we’ll help you find the perfect hearing aids to match your hearing needs and your lifestyle.