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Last month I posted the first part of a piece devoted to dispelling some myths about hearing loss. As a continuation of this series, I’d like to discuss more of the common misconceptions associated with hearing loss; however, this post will focus on the subject matter from a different perspective. In this post, I hope to go over some of the beliefs we all have associated with developing a hearing loss and why it’s important to treat it, rather than simply ignore it.

The sounds we hear every day are part of what makes us who we are {click to tweet}, whether those sounds are our favorite songs on the radio, a pet purring on our lap, birds singing in our garden, or our loved ones whispering that they love us. When we lose the ability to distinguish these sounds completely, it can be frightening and hard to admit.
Although there are certain instances in which someone can lose their hearing very suddenly, it’s usually a gradual change. In other words, hearing loss develops gradually over time, so gradually, in fact, that it can be hard to notice. Some of the symptoms of hearing loss include:
·         Difficulty telling the difference between high-pitched sounds like “th” and “s”
·         Having a harder time hearing women’s voices than men’s voices
·         Needing to turn up the TV or radio
·         Difficulty following conversations when more than two people are talking
·         Often asking people to speak more clearly or louder
·         Avoiding certain social situations, because you find them frustrating
Due to the gradual way that hearing loss develops, people tend to ignore it or don’t want to admit that they have it. They simply say, “I can still hear most things, so clearly I’m just fine,” or “I’d know if I had hearing loss because my doctor would have told me. “ But this isn’t the case.
Hearing loss isn’t an all or nothing issue. Just because you can still hear some things, doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have hearing loss. If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, you may want to have your hearing tested. If your hearing is fine, it can’t hurt, right? And if you do find that you are developing hearing loss, there are things that can be done to help treat it.
There are lots and lots (and lots) of excuses when it comes to not wanting to admit you have hearing loss and getting it treated. One of the biggest myths is that living with hearing loss isn’t that hard. Depending on how severe your hearing loss is, it can affect many different aspects of your life.
Let’s say, for example, that one of the aspects of your job is going to meetings frequently. If you start developing a hearing loss, you’re going to have to work harder to hear in these meetings. It’s going to take more effort to stay focused because you can’t quite hear everything. You may have to ask people to repeat themselves or talk louder. If your hearing loss goes untreated, you may even run the risk of not being able to hear what’s happening in these meetings at all, which would lead to poor job performance. This is clearly not good.
Maybe you don’t have to go to meetings all day long at work so that example isn’t that meaningful to you. Let’s consider something else. What if at the end of the day one of your favorite family activities has always been to watch TV together? Perhaps your kids are all out of the house, but you and your spouse still love to cuddle up and watch a good sitcom or one of those awesome, period drama pieces on PBS. The popcorn is popped. The lighting is dimmed. But the volume is so loud that your spouse can’t stand to stay cuddled next to you. This leaves you alone on the sofa. This is clearly not fun.
These examples aren’t meant to frighten or cause any upset, they’re merely meant to illustrate the fact that living with hearing loss isn’t easy. If your hearing loss is treated, you can improve your life. There’s no reason to stubbornly ignore it. You’re not doing yourself (or your loved ones) any favors.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again, I do not have a hearing loss. I do, however, know people who have hearing loss and the longer I have the opportunity to work and write for Listen, the more people I have the opportunity to meet more and more people who are affected by hearing loss. These people, whether they have hearing loss or whether they advocate for loved ones who have hearing loss, inspire me to learn more every day; they inspire me to be an advocate, as well. And it is with that in mind that I continue to try to break down some of the stigmas that are associated with hearing loss. Even if one person’s mind is changed by reading this post, then it has been worth it. If you feel you are developing a hearing loss, I urge you to get your hearing checked. It’s a simple step you can take to improving your life.
Three separate ListenTALK receivers in a row with different group names on each display screen.
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