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DETECT HEARING LOSS EARLY TO AVOID OTHER HEALTH ISSUES

Hearing loss often creeps into your life in subtle ways, and before you know it, ‘huh’ and ‘what’ have become the most common words in your vocabulary. Most people wait an average of 7 years before they seek help for their hearing loss.

By the time you or your family get fed up with yelling and you decide to seek help for your hearing loss, irreversible damage has already been done. When you delay treatment for your hearing loss you are actually doing more harm than you realize.

A 1999 survey by the National Council on Aging found adults with untreated hearing loss showed significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other psychosocial disorders.

More recently a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins found volunteers with hearing loss had cognitive abilities that declined some 30 percent to 40 percent faster than those whose hearing was normal.

Luckily, if you detect hearing loss early those issues can be evaded. If you think you may be suffering from depression, anxiety, frustration or cognitive impairment from your undiagnosed hearing loss, there is hope. Most of these conditions can improve when you accept your hearing loss and treat it with hearing aids. Being able to hear allows you to reconnect with family and friends. Hearing sounds you haven’t heard in several years pushes your brain to work harder. That work is good for keeping your brain in tiptop shape, thus warding off cognitive decline.

Aging, exposure to loud noise and medication can all contribute to gradual hearing loss.  Often those people who are actually losing their hearing don’t notice, until a friend or a family member mentions it.

Watch for these early warning signs of hearing loss:

  • Finding it hard to understand the voices of women and children in particular
  • Being asked to turn down the volume on the TV
  • Not being able to tell which direction a sound is coming from
  • Leaning closer to the person you are speaking with in order to hear them

The easiest way to detect hearing loss early is to have your hearing tested each year, just as you would schedule a yearly physical with your doctor.  By having your hearing tested yearly you will be able to detect hearing loss early on, which is key to avoiding negative consequences like depression.

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