Hearing loss is the third most common health ailment in America. Even so, people shy away from admitting that they have a hearing problem, let alone seeking help for it. It takes the average American anywhere between 6 to 10 years to actually seek any kind of professional help for their hearing loss. Many deny having a hearing problem and pretend to be able to hear. While this may spare you a moment of embarrassment, in the long run this can do more harm than good.
Even with hearing loss being so common these days, people still have difficulty owning up to it out of fear of being ostracized. Everyone likes feeling “normal” and fitting in with the rest of the crowd, and wearing hearing aids may immediately set someone apart from the rest of the group. Many times, people with hearing loss nod their heads and reply with a “yes” when they never even heard what was being said. Even though you may want to appear “normal,” this artificial attempt may actually make you feel even more left out over time as the conversations around you grow fainter and fainter due to increased hearing loss.
You may very well put up a good act in pretending to be able to hear, but your friends and family will eventually find out the truth when they find you replying with inappropriate responses or not responding at all. They may get frustrated at having to repeat themselves or even stop having conversations with you altogether because they are aware that you have some problem hearing them properly. The desire to fit in may actually make you stand out even more!
Hearing loss is often viewed as a problem related to the elderly population. This is another reason why younger adults feel embarrassed admitting to hearing loss, even though increasing number of younger adults have hearing loss today than ever before. Getting early treatment for your hearing loss at a younger age can show more prospective signs since you will be able to retain the remainder of your hearing before it worsens.
Having a hearing problem can be an isolating experience since you alone know what it feels like NOT to hear. You may be unsure, insecure and hesitant to find the right person to share your hearing problem with. You may wonder whether your family will be supportive or whether they will make fun of you. While your fears may be justified, it is still a good idea to find at least one friend, confidant, or family member whom you are close with, and share your hearing problem with them. You do not have to bear the brunt of it alone.
Take your family member or friend aside and have a heart to heart conversation with them about your hearing problem. If necessary, ask them to go with you to an audiologist so that you can get some emotional support and an extra pair of ears to help you stay on track with your hearing needs. We live in an increasingly artificial world where practically everything is whitewashed and photoshopped. This makes it even harder to admit to any human flaws that any of us might have. The truth is we all have flaws, even the ones that appear to be “perfect.”
Hearing loss can cause various other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. It is best to get a head start and treat it as soon as you find any early symptoms. Do not wait until it is too late. You are a beautiful and unique individual, and your hearing loss will not make you any less of a person. Admitting to and owning up to your hearing loss will not only help you get your life back on track, it will also help improve your ability to communicate with your friends, family, and colleagues. It will help you make the most out of your social life and help keep your emotional and physical health in good shape. It is time you broke the taboo and talked to someone about your hearing loss.
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