Hearing loss ranks near the top of the United States’ most common chronic health issues, yet relatively few people affected by hearing problems recognize the importance of treating hearing loss. Despite most hearing loss being treatable, there persists the falsehood that you can get along just fine without adequate hearing. In fact, the very opposite is true. Hearing loss can cause rifts in your closest relationships, decrease your earning power, and even make you vulnerable to a wide range of diseases from depression to dementia.
Facing hearing loss isn’t easy, but the good news is that most hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids and assistive devices. Many people don’t recognize how important annual hearing exams are, but establishing a good record of your hearing health can help you catch issues early on, when they are best treated.
The Earlier, The Better
At what stage you start to prioritize hearing loss can have a huge effect on your health – the earlier, the better. For most people, hearing problems develop gradually with permanent noise-related hearing damage accruing through their lifetime. It can be easy to procrastinate on getting what seems like a small hearing problem examined, but delaying care can have big consequences.
Hearing loss can be treated at all levels, but your hearing is better preserved the earlier you treat hearing loss. This is because your hearing is directly tied to your brain. While we need our ears to hear, we need cognitive connections to interpret the signals sent from the ear into meaning. When hearing loss is present, we have difficulty picking up all the sound signals we need for full comprehension. The brain begins to compensate for hearing loss, creating new pathways for sound signals to help fill in the gaps of information.
While these new cognitive patterns develop, they overwrite the way healthy hearing interprets sound signals, fundamentally changing the way we hear. Procrastinating on treating hearing loss allows new hearing methods to develop in your brain and makes it harder to adapt to hearing treatments like hearing aids. Catching hearing loss early and treating it while it is mild to moderate can help preserve more of your natural hearing. Treating hearing loss early is the best way to manage hearing damage, but treatment can help at any degree of hearing loss – the important thing is to treat hearing issues at any stage.
Prioritize Your Hearing
Why do people ignore their hearing issues? Hearing loss can be hard to prioritize, but doing so can really change your hearing and your life. Your hearing relies on delicate sensory nerves in the inner ear called “hair cells”. These cells can’t repair themselves if they are damaged, so over the course of our life the hearing damage we suffer accrues. This means our hearing doesn’t naturally recover from hearing loss – and that small amounts of hearing damage can accumulate into hearing loss gradually.
For many people, the gradual nature of their hearing loss can make it hard to see as a health issue. When a hearing issue is first recognized it can seem small enough to be insignificant. We may even have the sense that our body can naturally “adapt” to the hearing problem. Unfortunately, our body can’t recover hearing on its own and the cognitive compensation it develops for hearing loss can actually make hearing conditions harder to treat. Hearing loss is a big health issue, even if it feels like a small problem at first, and treating it early can help preserve your long-term health and quality of life.
Get an Annual Hearing Checkup
When was your last hearing exam? Making a hearing exam part of your annual health schedule can do a great deal towards preserving your fullest, healthiest hearing. Annual exams with your hearing specialist at Denver Audiology can help create a health history and while you stay on top of changes and patterns in how you hear. Annual exams also help detect hearing loss when it can be treated most effectively, in its early stages.
Looking for the right hearing care? Denver Audiology has got you covered. Our team offers complete hearing health care and a full range of treatment options. Whether you have a sudden change to the way you hear, or it’s just time for your annual exam, make Denver Audiology your hearing specialist.