Everybody knows that aging is a natural progression in life that is accompanied by increasing physical limitations. 

These physical limitations manifest themselves differently from person to person, causing people to ignore the effects of aging, embrace them, or give control to a family member. 

One of these common physical limitations is diminished hearing, which typically progresses so slowly that it may not be fully recognized as an issue until later in life. While hearing loss is often identified as something that mostly older people have to deal with, the reality is that hearing loss is present earlier in life, but typically ignored until much later. 

Many people seem to attach a negative stigma to hearing loss and think that wearing hearing aids shows that they are admitting defeat or giving in to aging; actually,  the opposite is true.

Confronting hearing loss

The sooner a person can identify and admit that they have hearing loss, the easier it will be to deal with it later in life. Since people generally want to hide their hearing loss, hearing aids have become smaller and more invisible. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller its batteries and components. 

Waiting to confront hearing loss until much later in life could also mean that you are facing worsening eyesight and dexterity. This makes it very challenging to learn how to use and take care of a small device, such as a hearing aid. 

"People also need to be honest about the situations that are causing frustration and unmet needs in their lives due to hearing difficulty."

People also need to be honest about the situations that are causing frustration and unmet needs in their lives due to hearing difficulty. We all have trouble in noisy restaurants, but if a person is no longer going to restaurants or avoiding group gatherings and find that they really miss that part of their life, something needs to be done. 

There is plenty of research showing how important a healthy social life is for all ages, but especially for seniors. When somebody retires, they lose a large part of their life that used to create many opportunities for social interactions. To prevent isolation and promote good mental health, seniors need to make an effort to stay socially active. 

Just like exercising any other muscle in our body, our brain needs to be kept active through social interaction. Being able to communicate in social situations requires understanding the conversation.

Who can help?

The good news is that no one has to be alone in dealing with their hearing loss. Seeking the help of a qualified and licensed professional, such as an audiologist, is the best place to start. 

An audiologist will be able to objectively identify your degree of hearing loss and will counsel you through the best options available to manage your hearing loss based on your lifestyle and needs. An audiologist will also help you learn how to use amplification, along with communication strategies to maximize improvement in challenging listening situations. 

Hearing loss can affect people of all ages, but more importantly, it can be helped much more successfully compared than even 10 years ago. Ignoring hearing loss because it is viewed as a sign of aging should be a thing of the past. Like every other area of technology, digital hearing aids have far surpassed the big, bulky, squealing lumps that used to sit in or behind peoples’ ears. Like linear hearing aids, any stigma associated with hearing loss needs to become a thing of the past so people can continue living the life they love.