Hearing tests are diagnostic tools to determine if a person needs treatment, but they are so much more. These tests can be used as a baseline for future assessments, and they can even help an audiologist or hearing health professional understand the unique quality of a person’s ability with speech and other forms of communication. With this powerful tool available, why do so many people avoid getting tested?
The answers to this question are as varied as the individuals who put off getting a test, but they have one thing in common. Each of these people putting off a hearing test is also prevented from receiving the benefits that come with treatment. In fact, putting off a hearing test can make the problem much worse in other domains of life, such as physical, mental, and cognitive health.
Let’s consider some of the reasons people put off hearing tests before considering the benefits that lie in store for those who get tested.
Avoiding Hearing Tests
A few people with hearing loss simply don’t realize that they are in need of a test. They might have been getting by with progressively worse hearing ability for years, and it is possible to develop some powerful subconscious mechanisms for communication. These people who are in deep denial of hearing loss are a rarity, however.
More often, those who put off getting a hearing test are living by a mythology that makes the test seem unsavory. Some people believe that hearing aids will make them seem old, when in fact younger people are developing hearing loss than ever before. Some people believe that hearing aids don’t work that well, when in fact the recent technology is better than ever before. The list of myths and associated facts goes on and on, but these avoidance mechanisms are powerful. Those who put off getting a hearing test might feel like they’re making the right choice, but in fact they are denying themselves some powerful benefits of treatment.
Benefits of Treatment
When you put off getting a hearing test, you are potentially making the problem much worse. Hearing loss is a condition closely related to communication ability, and our ability to communicate with others is important to ongoing health and wellness. In the first instance, untreated hearing loss is associated with negative physical health conditions. Ranging from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to accidental injuries, hearing loss can be a symptom of an underlying condition or it can actually cause some physical health problems. Communication is the link to many other effects on mental and social well-being. When a person struggles to communicate, it can cause a chain reaction leading them to self-isolate. The struggle to make sense of what others say might feel like an exhausting burden to some, but it feels like an embarrassing and anxiety-causing situation for others.
Rather than endure the frustration of conversations where things don’t make sense, some people start to avoid social encounters altogether, leading to poor mental health and even depression. For those who self-isolate, the problems are not only in mood and emotional wellbeing. Cognitive functioning can suffer, as well. The part of the brain tasked with communication is almost like a muscle that needs exercise. When a person spends too little time communicating, this ability can weaken, and there are even studies that show higher rates of dementia among those with untreated hearing loss than their counterparts.
With this snowball of problems in mind, the reasons to get a hearing test are better than ever. When you get the test, you will undergo a short, easy, and painless exam to assess which sounds you can hear and which you cannot. By simply signaling if you hear something, your hearing health professional can complete a thorough diagnosis of which sounds are more difficult than others. This information will be used to make a recommendation of the right hearing aids for your personal hearing profile and active lifestyle.
Why not take the plunge today and schedule a test? With these many benefits in mind, putting off getting your hearing test could be making things a lot worse and preventing you from reaping the rewards!