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Whether or not someone chooses to live a healthy life rarely comes down to a matter of ignorance. Everyone knows that a healthy diet is a cornerstone of your overall health. And the essentials of a healthy diet are no great secret. Everyone knows them and your body will tell you pretty quickly when you are not treating it with the respect that it prefers. You will feel bad. So when people form unhealthy habits, such as becoming accustomed to an unhealthy diet, it is not out of ignorance but due to prioritizing other factors above healthfulness, say convenience or a rush of flavor. And these calculations likely happen subconsciously.
And few people would need to think even for a moment to identify the other common cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise and proper rest. But have you considered that your hearing health is also a cornerstone of your overall health, and consequently your overall quality of life?
The Unnecessary Risks
According to decades of research, it is more likely than not that someone who suffers from hearing loss will minimize its severity or even outright deny to themselves and others that it is even happening. And when anyone does this, fails to address their hearing loss with the respect that it deserves, the consequences usually follow the same unfortunate course, damaging every element of that person’s life.
As communication becomes difficult, relationships obviously suffer. Professional opportunities also suffer as you suddenly struggle to keep up or maybe even fall behind. Feeling cut off and frustrated, people often withdraw, most often not even knowing why exactly they feel compelled to do so. This withdrawal leads to loneliness, because whatever that person’s previous standards of socializing were, they are now reduced.
Loneliness often leads to depression and depression often creates a cycle of frustration, helplessness, and anxiety, which all compound each other. And as these emotional and psychological traumas are being endured, at the same time our neural circuitry literally attempts to rewrite its pathways to adapt to the loss of hearing. This causes disorientation and even cognitive decline.
It is shocking to consider the gravity of these risks. And it is even more shocking to learn how common this experience is. Just under 14% of U.S. adults aged 18 and above live with some detectable degree of hearing loss. This percentage of the population increases steadily with age, affecting 6% of people under the age of 44. About one-third of everyone 65 years old and above and more than half of everyone over the age of 75 suffers from hearing loss.
Perhaps most shockingly, only about one out of every five people with hearing loss makes a daily habit of wearing aids. And of these people, studies have confirmed that they procrastinated an average of seven years between first considering that they may have hearing loss and finally taking meaningful action to diminish its impacts.
Those last facts can be tough for people to understand, until you consider this: hearing loss most often comes on so incredibly gradually that it is literally impossible for someone to perceive the change. It often comes down t a friend or family member having to say that they are noticing the symptoms and that is not always going to happen.
When you understand that the proper upkeep of your hearing health is a cornerstone of your overall health and you will not notice it decaying on your own, just as you probably get an annual physical, see the optometrist and the dentist, you will make a point to get an annual hearing exam.
It has been proven beyond any doubt that proper use of hearing aids will slow down cognitive decline in the elderly. And the earlier that someone forms the habit of wearing hearing aids, the more profound these improvements will be. Cognitive decline means losing the details of your own life story. It means forgetting appointments and not being able to keep up with your own trains of thought and more and more difficulty making decisions that once seemed simple.
There is no more meaningful way to get the objective assessment of your hearing health than keeping an annual appointment for a hearing exam. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today to determine the right course of action just right for your unique needs.