The short answer is that the best time to get hearing aids is as soon as you are diagnosed with hearing loss. The sooner you start treating hearing loss, the better it is for your mental health, and overall quality of life. Keep reading to find out more about why now is the best time to get hearing aids.
You Hear with Your Brain, Not Your Ears
As strange as it sounds, it’s actually your brain that does the hearing. Your ears are uniquely designed to convert sound waves into electric signals that are then interpreted by your brain to have meaning, whether it’s the sound of a loved one talking, or a bird singing outside the window. Hearing loss gets worse because the ears are getting worse at picking up these outside signals, but it’s your brain that really begins to suffer.
Because your brain is being sent less and less signals, it gets worse at being able to interpret these signals, causing neuropathways to become weak or broken. You will actually begin to forget how to hear, which means the longer you go without treating your hearing loss, the harder it will be to treat because you have to fight against the atrophy in your brain.
Depending on the severity and type of hearing loss you are experiencing, there might be a number of sounds that you haven’t heard in a while, whether it’s higher-pitched sounds or certain vocalizations. Once you do put in hearing aids to treat your hearing loss, then your brain has to re-learn how to interpret these sounds. If you wait for what you feel is the best time to get hearing aids, then it will take longer for your brain to re-learn these sounds, and some it may never get right.
Untreated Hearing Loss Leads to Bigger Problems
There are a number of problems that untreated hearing loss can lead to, the worst being dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is caused by the lack of stimulation that your brain is getting in the regions that process sounds. That leads to a general loss of brain cognition which makes developing these cognitive disorders significantly more likely. In fact, those with severe hearing loss are about three times more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who don’t have hearing loss.
Another problem that untreated hearing loss is linked with is depression. This is because as you’re less able to participate in social situations due to being unable to fully hear and understand what’s being said, you begin to isolate yourself and feel left out. These feelings of isolation and loneliness are what cause many people with hearing loss to also suffer from depression.
Hearing Aids Will Help You Enjoy Life Again
If you’re like most people, hearing makes up a huge part of the things that you enjoy most in life, whether it’s listening to music, watching movies, going to the park, or spending time with people you love. However, as your hearing loss progresses, these normally enjoyable activities become significantly less enjoyable and even potentially dangerous.
Walking anywhere with hearing loss is a dangerous activity since you can’t hear cars or people coming towards you. You also can’t hear many alarm sounds, as these typically use higher-pitched sounds that are often the first ones lost with hearing loss. This can put your life at risk if you can’t hear the fire alarm going off. Although it may sound extreme, when you really think about it, getting hearing aids could actually save your life.
The truth is, right now is the best time to get hearing aids. The sooner you get them, the sooner you can take your life back and start improving your mental health to help avoid problems in the future. If you notice your hearing isn’t what it used to be or just want to be safe, schedule a hearing test with an audiologist today.