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Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012

Please Don't Wait: Hear Better Now

Hand holding hourglass. Hearing loss needs to be treated early.

Jennifer Yeaton was 29 when she discovered she had hearing loss. Knowing she had hearing loss didn't inspire her to find a way to hear better immediately. She decided to live with it. This mistake cost her time and allowed parts of her world to quietly slip away.

Untreated hearing loss has been shown to reduce alertness, impair memory, result in depression and isolation, and interfere with relationships.

My name is Jennifer Yeaton and I have hearing loss. I was 29 in 1997 when I first had my hearing tested. I knew that I had a bit of hearing loss and was told at 29 I had 10% hearing loss of everyday sounds and speech sounds. At that time 10% didn’t seem so bad and since there was no detectable reason for me to be losing my hearing, I let it go.

“Hearing loss was shown to negatively impact household income on-average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss.” Better Hearing Institute

Fast forward to 2006. I went to Marty Layne Associates in Scarborough, ME and discovered my hearing loss had gotten worse. I had approximately 40% loss.

I remember so clearly when Dr. Layne put the remarkable hearing aids into my ears then stood behind me and whispered. I burst out in tears!! I could hear her. I had no idea HOW MUCH and WHAT I was missing with this gradual hearing loss.

People are often unaware of how much hearing loss there is until it is brought to their attention by a loved one or a hearing health professional.

I could now hear crickets chirping, my pant legs swooshing as I walked, my jacket arms swoosh when I swung my arms!! I could hear the beeper on the stove when the timer went off, I could hear and understand my daughter when she whispered something secret to me. I could hear the waitress in the restaurant, the dialog at the movies, I could hear traffic sounds when driving, I could even hear the snow tires whirring as I drove down the street.

Often times people with untreated hearing loss will deny or ignore the impact of their condition on their lives not realizing the joy hearing better can bring.

Hearing again changed my life, in multiple ways. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t participating in my own life because I couldn’t hear what was going on around me... my life was becoming smaller and smaller as I unknowingly pulled away especially in social situations. I was 38 when I got my hearing aids, too young to have this type of hearing loss, but old enough to realize that I needed them!

Hearing loss can occur at any age and is becoming more prevalent among younger people in society.

I am proud to wear hearing aids and I wear my hair up in buns and ponytails all of the time!! If I am asked about them, I tell people that I wish I had gotten them sooner! I will tell my story to people resistant to hearing aids for fear they will make them look “older.” That myth is silly! I am 43 and proudly wear my hearing aids and am so grateful for them.

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your cautionary and inspiring hearing loss story with the People Hearing Better Community. Your generosity in relating it is bound to help other people living with untreated hearing loss to decide to hear better now. It's important for people who have any health condition that can adversely impact well being both physically and emotionally to seek treatment as soon as possible. Time lost to untreated hearing loss can never be regained.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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