Updated: Sep 5
There are at least 63 million people who have significant hearing loss in India! Although the number of people having hearing loss is alarmingly large, acceptance of having any hearing difficulty is extremely rare. Ignoring hearing loss could lead to several other health risks that could debilitate your overall quality of life.
The best way to avoid these problems? Address your hearing loss ASAP!
#1 You may be constantly irritated and feel isolated
Hearing loss can result in a feeling of isolation and irritation. Because you cannot hear what others are saying, you tend to miss the information or even misunderstand the message they are trying to convey. When you did not hear something clearly, you feel the need to constantly ask for repetitions. This can leave you feeling embarrassed and eventually isolating yourself socially. “If I don’t participate, I can’t feel embarrassed”, you think!
#2 You may fall more easily/frequently
The auditory system is closely connected to the balance system. While our site of hearing is in the cochlea, the maintenance of our balance and orientation in space is facilitated by the vestibular system. Cochlea and the vestibular system are anatomically connected to each other. So, problems in hearing can easily cause problems in balance.
#3 You keep forgetting things/mixing up information
Remember that time you thought your dentist appointment was on the 5th, but it was actually on the 6th?
We often tend to take such incidents lightly and assume that such mix ups are just a result of absent mindedness. What we fail to consider is that this could also happen due to problems with hearing also! Hearing loss can not only result in mishearing important information, but recent studies suggest that untreated hearing loss can aggravate the chances of memory issues too! This is because a huge chunk of our cognition is used by our brain to understand what we are hearing (because hearing loss can result in so much loss of information) that our cognitive functions such as memory and attention deteriorate faster during old age!
#4 Driving/riding is riskier
If you drive your vehicle alone, you could be at higher risk of accidents/falls. This is because you may fail to hear or localize the sound of a vehicle. Since your balance may also be affected in some types of hearing loss, you could be at a higher risk of road traffic accidents!
#5 Performance at work falls down (and work meetings seem more exhausting and tedious than they already are)
When we do not hear all the information, our brain swoops in to rescue us by filling in the missing information based on our past experiences. If our brain has to keep doing this kind of work all the time, a lot of its resources will be utilized, leaving us feeling fatigued by the end of the day. This can also result in lack of attention, poor concentration and efficiency of work at your workplace. You may also miss important information in work meetings, affecting your work life to a large extent.
#6 You miss calls or doorbells
If you live alone, it is important to know when a visitor comes to your home. People with higher degrees of hearing loss tend to miss phone calls and doorbells leaving their dear ones worried. Although this is not directly a health risk, it can sometimes put you or your dear ones’ life at risk!
What can you do about it?
GET YOUR HEARING TESTED, just to be sure.
TAKE ACTION, if necessary. Once your audiologist conducts a hearing assessment, they will discuss further courses of action with you. It is not only important to hear them out but also to act on it seriously and immediately!
It is okay to seek help! You have at least 63 million others with you!