Hobbies, in many ways, make life worthwhile, even though we may not give them the credit they’re due. If you haven’t been deriving as much enjoyment from them lately, perhaps untreated hearing loss is to blame.
Hobbies keep the mind active. They keep muscles working, improve circulation, and keep you moving.
Many hobbies increase the opportunity to connect with friends. Having a hobby has even been shown to significantly reduce dementia risk in aging adults. In addition to the health benefits, they make life more fun.
It can be difficult to participate in the activities you love when you’re experiencing hearing loss. Over time, you’re likely to spend less time on hobbies if you’re struggling with hearing loss. That means you’re missing out on the benefits hobbies provide.
Let’s examine how untreated hearing loss impacts your favorite hobbies and the changes you can make to ensure you’re able to keep doing the activities you love.
How hearing loss impacts hobbies
Individuals who have experienced hearing loss since childhood have had a lifetime to adapt to the condition. Other senses adjust, allowing them to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
But when an individual with previously healthy hearing slowly loses her hearing, she may stop participating in her favorite activities.
Hearing loss rarely happens suddenly. Most hearing loss is very gradual. At first, you may not even notice how it’s interfering with your life.
With untreated hearing loss, hobbies become more difficult. They’re less enjoyable. When you try to interact with your fellow hobbyists, it’s harder to communicate with them. Some hobbies can even become dangerous.
A person with untreated hearing loss is twice as likely to suffer an accident when participating in his favorite hobbies. Hearing-related hobby accidents contribute to approximately 28 million emergency room visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Untreated hearing loss increases accident risk
If you have a dangerous hobby, such as mountain climbing, it’s easy to see how not being able to hear would make the activity more dangerous. With untreated hearing loss, you can’t communicate with the other climbers to safely get to the top of the mountain.
But even “safer” hobbies will become more dangerous when you’re experiencing untreated hearing loss.
Cycling becomes a challenge because you may miss the subtle sounds around you that signal danger. You also startle more easily. Cooking becomes riskier because you may not hear water boiling, a small fire crackling, or the sound of a fire alarm or timer. A photographer may step into a precarious situation unaware of the danger as she tries to get the perfect shot.
It’s easy to imagine how woodworking, gardening, hunting, and boating would all become more dangerous with untreated hearing loss.
Untreated hearing loss makes hobbies less enjoyable
Maybe you have a calm, relaxing hobby – like knitting. You meet with four other knitters each week to enjoy an evening of knitting and chatting. But as your untreated hearing loss progresses, you begin to feel more isolated, even when sitting in a room with several people.
You miss parts of the conversation, so you don’t feel comfortable chiming in. Your friends begin to interact with you less often because you frequently ask them to repeat themselves.
Why hearing loss goes untreated
Hearing loss goes untreated for many reasons.
- You may not realize how bad it is. You assume you’re hearing background noise. You’re able to fill in the blanks when you miss something that was said.
- When you mishear something, your friends smile and don’t tell you that you’ve misunderstood them. If we were more honest with ourselves and others, we would all seek the help we need in a more timely fashion.
- Your hearing loss may go untreated because you don’t want to wear a hearing aid. Some people think it makes them seem older or less independent. Hearing loss is part of the aging process, but living with age-related hearing loss isn’t. Individuals who have their hearing loss treated stay more active and involved, which leads to a happier, healthier, more connected life.
- Most people think hearing aids are expensive. An excellent hearing aid isn’t cheap, but when you consider the cost savings of staying safe while performing hobbies, staying connected in the community, and living healthier, it’s clear hearing aids are more of an investment than an expense.
Don’t let hearing loss hamper your hobbies
If you have trouble hearing, even a little, you should make an appointment with a hearing specialist to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. Once hearing loss starts down its slippery slope, it will quickly worsen. Wearing a hearing aid will slow the progression of your hearing loss and allow you to stay more connected with friends through your hobbies.