If you have always lived with normal hearing, it may be difficult to understand what it’s like to live with hearing loss. Let’s take an imaginary trip into the life of a person with hearing loss.
You wake up – not because you could hear an alarm or any normal household sounds, but because you always wake up at this time. Or maybe you only wake up when the sun shines through the curtains. Maybe you even wake up a little bit late because you missed hearing your alarm or a phone call.
You go about your regular morning routine: breakfast, shower, get dressed and ready for the day. If you have a job, you go to work. However, if you have hearing loss, you might not have a job. After all, individuals with profound hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed, and if they are employed, they typically make less money than individuals with normal hearing.
It’s Wednesday, and you always meet your friends for lunch on Wednesdays. You head to your usual restaurant and see your friends waiting for you at a table. You sit down, excited to discuss your weekend plans, but then you realize that you’re having a hard time understanding the conversation. It seems like you need to concentrate so hard in order to keep up – and the background noise at the busy restaurant makes things more difficult. You realize you’re missing part of the conversation because you can’t hear over the noise at the table next to you. You let it go and finish lunch without discussing your weekend plans.
As you’re getting home for the day, you see a flyer for a social event that evening. You remember that one of your friends at lunch mentioned it – but did they say they were or weren’t going? You aren’t sure since you couldn’t hear the conversation very well. Even if your friend isn’t going, you are still interested in the event. However, you remember how difficult it was to engage with your friends at lunch and decide to pass up tonight’s event. After all, it will only be more difficult to stay in tune with people you don’t know.
You spend the evening on your own. Maybe you watch a TV show (with the volume turned up so you can hear it), or maybe you do a bit of reading. You eat dinner on your own. You think about calling your sister to catch up, but the thought of the effort it takes to listen to a phone conversation is too much. Instead, you head to bed.
This may sound a bit lonely and depressing. That’s no surprise – people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to suffer from depression, loneliness, stress, reduced physical and mental health, and reduced job performance. They are also less likely to participate in social activities and more like to feel sad and depressed.
Contrast this day with a day lived by someone with normal hearing, or someone using hearing aids to treat their hearing loss. If it were you, you would hear your alarm in the morning. You would function better at work as you easily participate in meetings, phone calls, and one-on-one conversations. You would enjoy better conversation with your friends at lunch, even if the restaurant were crowded and noisy. You would be more likely to go to that social event in the evening, even if your friend wasn’t going. You would call your sister. In short, you would engage in all of the activities and social events you love – and you would be more likely to feel more fulfilled and happy.
If you believe you may be suffering from untreated hearing loss, we invite you to contact our audiology practice today. We are here to provide the care you need to live the life you want.