Untreated hearing loss has significant impact on every aspect of a person’s daily life—emotional and physical. It can increase irritability, workplace accidents, and reduce compensation. In addition to being linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, untreated hearing loss has also been tied to vertigo, tinnitus, and drop-falls. Though many people don't understand the whole body ramifications of this condition, there is remarkable progress being made to draw attention to the problems of not treating hearing loss. The good news is that studies have shown many of the problems associated with untreated hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids.
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids has been shown to improve job performance and compensation, create healthier communication and relationships. In fact, it is now believed that hearing healthcare can be one of the greatest contributors to health as people age. But that's not the full story. In order to appreciate the changes hearing aids can make in the life of one individual, it's probably best to let one individual tell you the benefits hearing aids have given to her. Sue Hopkins went her entire life with hearing loss, and it wasn't until she was forty that she finally received treatment.
All my life I have had a hearing loss. Though I didn’t understand the impact it was having on me, I knew that it hurt that people made fun of me as I was growing up.
Untreated hearing loss diminishes self-esteem and can be a source of social unease.
When I was forty years old, I decided that “coping” with my hearing loss had gotten old. I was exhausted. Though it frightened me to consider hearing aids—I had hidden my hearing loss for many years and I didn’t want to return to the days of that stigma, I went to an audiologist. I’m so glad I found the courage. I might have waited until I was forty to get my first hearing aids, but I haven't looked back!
Correcting hearing loss protects brain functions, results in higher self-esteem, and overall wellbeing.
The doctor explained to me how to use the hearing aids. I was really surprised at how simple they were. And I was shocked at how my voice sounded to my own ears. I left the hearing aid office and felt reborn. Everything was suddenly an adventure in sound.
From that day on, the world became a totally different place from the one I’d experienced for forty years! There is a lot going on outside--the sound of cars driving by, the sound of my own footsteps, the sweet sound of a bird’s song. And the sound of the wind is delightful. It brushes against my ears. The first time I’d heard the sound--whoosh, I stopped just to let the noise play against my ears. It seems commonplace to some, but to me it was anything but. And it didn't stop there. The first time I pulled up my zipper, I started. I hadn't realized zippers made noise. I had to do it again and again just to hear the zippy sound.
Hearing aids have changed my life. Today I stop to listen to all the wonderful sounds that surround me. I know I have missed a lot of hearing, but thanks to the benefit of hearing aids this is a new beginning. This is a day to stop and enjoy the music. And not just the musical notes that come out of the radio. Take a minute to really listen to laughter. Hear that? It’s music too!
Thank you for sharing your story, Sue. Your joy on hearing the smallest sounds--a zipper and the wind was so moving. People Hearing Better applauds your courage in getting help for your hearing loss and for sharing your story with our community in the hopes of helping someone else. Your story is sure to inspire others to take care of their hearing loss. If you want to follow Sue's example, click the button below to learn more about how hearing health can improve your life!
Personal stories may have been edited for content and ease of reading.