If you're the victim of gradual hearing loss it may surprise and dismay you when you discover how much of life you're missing and what ignoring the problem can cost you.
Imagine seeing that first flock of southbound geese announcing the approach of Fall and not hearing that familiar honk.
Photo credit: jemolesky from morguefile.com
How much fun would this situation be if you couldn't hear the child's baby sounds? High frequency hearing loss is most often the first to weaken and that means women and small children's voices are difficult to hear.
Photo credit: fmfm166 from morguefile.com
This wouldn't be quite the same without the sounds of the crackling fire.
Photo credit: Plume from morguefile.com
The reasons (read excuses) for delaying addressing a hearing loss problem are many: My ears work fine, people just mumble. I don't have the time/money. They make me look old. I can just turn up the TV. They're too much trouble, etc., etc. and in some cases they're legitimate reasons. However in most cases folks just don't understand how much a hearing loss negatively impacts their lives.
Jim Silvis says: Here are just a few of the things in my personal experience where a severe hearing loss forced me to negatively alter my lifestyle.
- I could no longer enjoy a TV show because even with the volume turned up to a level uncomfortable for anyone else to tolerate, I still couldn't understand the dialog; movies or videos were the same so I just didn't rent or go.
- Trying to follow a speaker in a large auditorium was next to impossible.
- My conversations were riddled with requests for people to repeat.
- Telephone conversations were an exercise in frustration.
- PA systems were indecipherable to me.
- When I tried to play my guitar and sing like I've done for many years, I couldn't hear myself or the instrument very clearly so I simply quit.
In an article on the Healthy Hearing website the subject is taken a step or two further:
Do you ever realize how much of your everyday life depends on hearing? For example, waking up on time for work likely depends on your ability to hear your alarm clock go off each morning. Or what about being able to hear your kitchen timer alerting you that food is ready?
All of these sounds are integral parts of your daily life, and without the help of hearing aids it's possible to completely miss those noises. If you have a dog or cat at home, hearing loss may prevent you from hearing them bark or meow, which often indicates that they need to be fed, or that your dog needs to be taken outside.
Pronounced noises a severe hearing loss can miss loud sounds such as construction, an airplane or lawn mower, which could pose a safety concern in some situations.
Although it might seem nice to some people who would prefer to avoid these sounds, being able to hear a construction site or lawn mower will make you aware of your surroundings whether you are inside or out.
Can you think of an occupation where clear communication is of vital importance? Suppose a law enforcement officer raided the wrong address because he or she couldn't hear or understand the dispatcher accurately; or paramedics arrived at a wrong address, losing precious time, for the same reason. Perhaps you'd like to be on an airplane which was being guided by an Air Traffic Controller with hearing loss. What if a nurse misunderstood a medication order because she couldn't hear properly? That could be a disastrous experience!
These are just a fraction of the negative impacts hearing loss can produce in your life. Watch this blog for our next post on positive answers to hearing loss problems.
Written By James D. Silvis
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