Many of us don’t even realize that we have hearing loss.
The gradual drop in hearing is so slow that our brain doesn’t allude us to it. Think of it like gradual weight gain or weight loss. As an individual, I don’t notice the gradual weight changes until something happens to make me notice. Someone may point it out to me. I may see a photo of myself from five years ago, or my clothing may fit differently.
Hearing loss is like weight gain, you may not notice it right away, but the gradual changes are still there. Imagine if I woke up tomorrow and I could hear like I did at age 20 again. What would that be like for me? My hearing is not bad, but there have been changes. I’m not unlike the general population. According to statistics provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine, hearing loss is all around us. If it is not impacting you personally, it is someone you know.
About 20 percent of Americans, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss
At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss
60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
What does this mean for us as a population? It means that we should get at least a baseline hearing test. A baseline test will provide us guidance. Someone with even a mild hearing loss often experiences fatigue from having to listen more carefully, and may avoid certain social situations due to the amount of energy required to “keep up” with conversations. Most importantly, untreated hearing loss is considered a risk factor for brain atrophy and cognitive decline.
Just like weight gain, hearing loss may happen gradually. Even if I don’t perceive a change in my hearing, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. I weight myself as a way to keep myself educated on my overall health, I also check my hearing annually for the same reason.