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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

As the weather abruptly turned colder in October, I raced home one evening to finish harvesting the last of the food from our small family garden. Two of my children helped as I dug up the sweet potatoes before the ground froze. The initial excitement of cutting away vines and then digging in the dirt and finding large bundles of orange roots faded as the work became more difficult and tiresome. My daughter asked when we would be able to eat the sweet potatoes and I explained it would be quite some time before they were cured and ready to eat.

Since she had helped throughout the entire gardening process, we were able to incorporate the season’s activities into many of her school lessons. As we talked about the fruits and vegetables we had been able to harvest and eat, I asked her a question as the ultimate summary of what we learned: “Do you know what ‘The Law of the Harvest’ is?” I went on to explain that it means, “You reap what you sow,” or in other words, you harvest what you plant.

The Law of the Harvest is universal and applies to every aspect of our lives. The decisions we make in life matter, and the freedom to make choices and decisions is a precious gift. Sometimes we are able to know what the results of our decisions will likely be based on our own experiences, while at other times we must rely on the experience of others. When it comes to the consequences related to untreated hearing loss, data gained from numerous sources, along with my 13 years of experience, fuels my desire to share the importance of treating hearing loss. Numerous studies show the negative impact on mental health, including dementia, as a result of untreated hearing loss. Recent events have highlighted some of these negative effects.

While 2020 has been the most unpredictable year that anyone can remember, some things have not changed. Social interaction and personal connections are still an integral part being healthy as individuals and as a society. The negative consequences of social isolation have never been as apparent as they have been in the past year. The physical barriers brought about by the Covid-19 virus and the policies implemented to stop the spread of the disease have had an impact on everyone. The CDC has reported increased incidents of depression and other mental health issues following the government implemented shutdowns, in part due to decreased social interaction.

These same types of symptoms have been reported for many years in adults with hearing loss. When adults lose their ability to hear and understand, especially in noisy environments, they tend to become isolated. The isolation starts gradually and becomes more extreme with time. Sometimes the isolation comes from their own choice, while other times they are purposefully left out. Either way, treating hearing loss earlier can significantly reduce the likelihood of social isolation and the associated negative mental health issues.

As we move into this holiday season, please take time and make the effort in whatever way possible to provide social support for those who have been isolated due to the pandemic. At Blue Ribbon Hearing, we are thankful for the exceptional amount of support we have received from the community and especially the readers of the Brighton Buzz. Your continued support of us and other local businesses strengthens our community. We continue to ask that if you are able, support our local charity Almost Home, Inc.