By Yishane Lee
As soon as the holidays roll around every year, I try to think of ways to give and receive gifts that are truly valuable, and not merely the season’s hot toy or other things that, when it comes down to it, you don’t really, really need. (I have used last year’s immersion blender exactly once. Yipes!)
As I try to remind my kids, the season is about gift giving, not receiving, and this year, I’ll talk to my family about giving the gift of healthy hearing. An annual hearing test taken every year around the holidays is the perfect way to show your family you care, and for them to show you they care.
Why? Undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss has been shown to detrimentally affect personal relationships, as the Better Hearing Institute reports. “Research demonstrates the considerable negative social, psychological, cognitive, and health effects of untreated hearing loss with far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.”
And it’s well known that social isolation is a risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders. The social isolation that can come with untreated hearing loss may be one reason why hearing loss has been linked to dementia, according to a 2011 study led by Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. It is also possible that whatever leads to dementia may also cause hearing loss. Or, the brain’s constant efforts to understand and interpret sounds eventually taxes the brain, leading to dementia.
I don’t mean to be such a downer in a time of holiday cheer. But since having a hearing loss can be even more challenging during the holidays, when family and friends gather and when the noise level can be even louder, you owe it to yourself and your family—and vice versa—to get your hearing checked by a hearing professional this holiday season.
If you’re really looking to give a gift that will impact a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus, consider a gift to HHF. You can make a gift in memory or in honor of a loved one, contribute to an item on our wish list, or fundraise for a cure and ask your family and friends to donate to HHF in lieu of holiday gifts to you.
While you are doing some online shopping, consider using Amazon Smile where a portion of your proceeds will be automatically donated to HHF at no cost to you! Just register (or sign in to your Amazon account) and choose HHF as your charity of choice. Also, be sure to avoid these toxic toys—including noisy toys that have the potential to cause hearing damage over time.
Here’s hoping you and yours enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season!