We all know that hearing loss can cause quite a problem when trying to understand other people. We also know that it can make any form of entertainment difficult to enjoy. However were you aware that poor hearing can also be quite dangerous?
You can see a dangerous situation that is close and in front of you, but can you hear an emergency vehicle coming from behind?
If you were to walk toward a dangerous situation, could you hear someone shout a warning? Can you hear the whirring of a bicycle down the sidewalk or someone breaking into your house? Or how about water boiling, a crackling fire inside your home or your smoke/carbon monoxide alarm?
There are many instances where a hearing loss has the potential to cause injury. Even something as simple as an everyday conversation with a Doctor, Nurse or Pharmacist can have disastrous results if misunderstood. If a Pharmacist says “do not take this medication with ibuprofen” and you hear “take this medication with ibuprofen” there could be serious problems as a result.
If someone says “that dog isn’t very friendly” and you hear “is” instead of “Isn’t” you or your child could be seriously hurt.
Another example of the possibility of serious injury due to hearing loss is found in an article in the Spring 2012 issue of Hearing Health magazine. Doctor Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D of Johns Hopkins University says that people with just a 25 dB hearing loss, which is considered mild, have a three times more likely history of falling. As your hearing declines, the risk of falling increases as well.
There is also a potential for non-physical, emotional injury. Suppose a good friend makes a comment that you find very offensive personally and you are very hurt by it. You carry that around inside for months until you discover that you misunderstood what the person was saying. Due to your hearing loss you missed the fact that your friend was actually being complimentary. Now you are ashamed to admit you were hurt. Hearing loss can produce all sorts of unpleasant complications in our personal relationships. Helen Keller, perhaps the most remembered of our hearing/vision impaired people said: “Blindness separates us from things, deafness separates us from people”
Clearly, the potential for injury of numerous sorts due to hearing loss is very real. If you suspect you may be a sufferer, for your own safety and those around you please see a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a hearing evaluation soon.
By Susan L. Fenrich, BC-HIS* & President, Welsch Hearing Aid Company, Inc. *Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences | WI-612