I find the cover story in the March issue of “The Hearing Reveiw” — Well-Hearing is Well-Being – to be well timed. Let’s start with this excerpt.
“The complexity of hearing loss also relates to its impact. Hearing is in many ways a social sense, and hearing loss can have a fundamental impact on communication with others and connecting to them. Hearing is also an emotional sense, and hearing loss can change how we enjoy social gatherings, theater, music, and how we perceive emotions. Hearing loss can also affect the ability to monitor changes in the acoustical environment, potentially impacting a sense of safety or security. In other words, hearing loss can have an impact on what we intuitively would refer to as “well-being”.
These three areas of well-being are very much in our world today.
Social sense: As we get further into this quarantine, we may long for the connections we had in February. We are frustrated that we aren’t able to enjoy dinner and a movie. It becomes more difficult to remember what it was like to laugh around a table together. Hearing impaired individuals are very often in “lockdown” mode most of the time. When people are talking around them and they cannot keep up with what’s been said, they very often withdraw. They become more socially distant than is really good for their mental health. Hearing loss does not change the way we look. It does change the way we think and feel.
Which brings us to the emotional sense. Being disconnected from our people makes us feel abandoned. It takes away our sense of purpose. It changes the way we interact with complete strangers. We revert to a less friendly, less trusting, nature. Just today, my friend Caitlin told me of a terrible experience she had at a fast food restaurant. She had never been treated in that fashion at the restaurant before. The server probably has no history of that type of behavior. But, we are in unprecedented times. We do not know how to coexist in such a climate. We are social beings and we are being told to limit our socialization. Too much time alone can change our social skills and behaviors. It makes us more paranoid. Untreated hearing loss disconnects people as well. It forces them to be less social than they were designed to be. It makes them lonely and changes their behavior. It keeps them isolated from their surroundings. It makes their world very small.
A small world gives us a sense of safety. Right? In our much smaller quarantined worlds we have seen a rise in depression, divorce, and domestic abuse. It doesn’t seem as though the world we know is safer. We are looking around corners. We are wondering what the next thing is going to be and how we should prepare for it. Studies have shown these same sorts of worries plague the hearing impaired in the form of: What did I just say yes to? Why isn’t my alarm system working? What need am I missing because I can’t hear? Why is my medicine not correcting the issues?
Treating hearing loss sooner keeps a sense of well being intact. It prevents many of these social, emotional, and safety issues from occurring. Treating hearing loss later helps to mitigate some of the behavioral changes that have already occurred. I like a sooner rather than later approach because keeping well-being is much better than chasing it.
Give us a call at (812) 303-4300 if your well-being is worth keeping.