If I Can Still Hear, Is It OK to Put Off Getting Hearing Aids?

In Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
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Have you noticed any early signs of hearing loss? Maybe you have to turn up the volume on the TV just a little bit louder than before, or you ask your loved ones to repeat themselves sometimes. You may also notice that it’s a lot harder to follow conversations if there’s lots of background noise. Despite these changes in your hearing, you feel as though you’re still hearing fairly well. So is it okay to put off getting hearing aids? 

The Stigma of Hearing Loss

For years there has been a stigma around hearing loss. People are reluctant to talk about their hearing loss or wear hearing aids. That’s because people worry that wearing hearing aids will make them seem old.

This is very different from how we think about our vision. If the world is a little blurry, you immediately book an eye exam and start wearing glasses. Or if you feel sick, you go see your doctor. Your ears should be no different. Treating hearing loss isn’t a sign that you’re getting old. It’s a sign that you’re prioritizing your health and wellbeing. 

Don’t Put Off Treating Hearing Loss!

Untreated hearing loss is not just an annoyance. Yes, it’s frustrating when you can’t follow conversations or hear what’s going on around you. But worse than that, untreated hearing loss can impact your cognitive health, your relationships, and your job. 

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Health 

If you can still hear, you may not prioritize your hearing health. However, putting off getting hearing aids can impact your cognitive health. Hearing happens in your ears and your brain. The auditory regions of the brain take all the information from the ears and interpret these signals so that you can hear. When you have hearing loss, even mild hearing loss, you’re putting a lot of strain on your brain. You spend a lot of energy trying to understand what’s being said or pick out sounds in the environment.

You put so much energy into hearing that you don’t have enough brainpower left to make sense of the words you’re hearing or remember what you’ve heard. Untreated hearing loss is linked to more rapid cognitive decline and an even higher risk of dementia.

Hearing Loss and Your Relationships

Hearing loss can cause social isolation and loneliness. So much of our relationships are based on communication, but if you have hearing loss, having conversations becomes a lot harder. You ask people to repeat themselves and get frustrated when you keep misunderstanding. You may avoid social settings where all the sounds seem overwhelming. Hearing loss, even mild hearing loss, can damage your relationships and leave you feeling isolated.

Hearing Loss and Employment

Hearing loss also affects your job. People with hearing loss have lower income on average than people who treat their hearing loss. Hearing is an important part of most jobs. You may need to attend meetings, talk on the phone, contribute to discussions, or be aware of the sounds around you on the job site. Hearing loss can lead to mistakes or even accidents at work. Even mild hearing loss can make it hard to accomplish tasks at work and may jeopardize your employment. 

Treating Mild Hearing Loss

Don’t put off getting hearing aids! Treating mild hearing loss will help you maintain cognitive health, deepen your relationships, and maintain high standards at work. Adults often start to notice the first signs of hearing loss in their 40s or 50s as it becomes harder to hear certain sounds.

If you’ve noticed any changes in your hearing, book a hearing test! Some changes in hearing are still considered in the normal range, so this test may not show you that you have hearing loss. It will show you your hearing threshold at each pitch. Next time you come in for a hearing test, we’ll compare your test against this first test to see what’s changed.

When you do have hearing loss that’s significant enough to be mild or moderate hearing loss, we’ll suggest hearing aids. Regardless of your age, lifestyle, or hearing needs, we have hearing aids that will fit seamlessly into your life, giving you clear hearing in situations where you need a bit of extra help.