Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director, Better Hearing Institute, Alexandria, VA
At times, it seems as if hearing is a second-rate sense to vision in our visually oriented modern society. But there is nothing second rate about the ramifications of untreated hearing loss. In fact, many people with hearing loss delay getting help because they are unaware of the fact that receiving early treatment for hearing loss can literally transform their lives.
Untreated, hearing loss can have many negative consequences that are not regularly associated with hearing problems. Those who struggle with hearing loss may be subject to subtle or even overt discrimination and be excluded from gatherings, conversations and meetings. The inability to communicate effectively can ultimately lead to frustration, anxiety, social isolation and depression.
While close to 30 million people in the United States have hearing loss, the majority have not received treatment. Yet extensive research demonstrates that treatment with modern hearing aids brings measurable improvements in social, emotional, psychological, and physical well being, for both patients and their spouses.
The good news is that, with treatment, those suffering even mild hearing loss can gain:
- Greater effectiveness on the job and better earning power. (An estimated 65% of people with hearing loss are younger than retirement age.)
- More participation in group activities like church services.
- Improved interpersonal relationships, greater intimacy and a better sense of control in professional, social and family gatherings.
The fact is that better hearing is a critical aspect of effective communication. Hearing is crucial to developing meaningful relationships and the ability to enjoy life, whether it is participating fully in a conversation between friends, or enjoying aesthetic pleasures like music, the leaves rustling in the wind, or the cooing of a child.
Better hearing helps you perform better, whether in business situations or engaging in hobbies or sports – all of life’s activities that include a wealth of auditory cues and signals. Better hearing also gives you an enhanced sense of security, and is critical where safety is a concern – for instance when caring for young children.
So, if you suffer from a mild, moderate or severe hearing loss and have yet to seek help from a hearing professional, consider all the benefits of better hearing described above. Do not wait until you are retired to treat your hearing loss. You shouldn’t delay the ability to enjoy a fuller, more satisfactory life . . . for you and your family
To receive literature on hearing loss, its treatment and prevention call the Better Hearing Institute hotline at 1-800-EAR-WELL or visit our website at www.betterhearing.org.