This entertaining graphic describes the many excuses we find to delay the inevitable progress of something that is beneficial to pursue.

While I contemplated writing my next blog for Brain emPower, I considered diving into the depth of the topic of stress and cognitive overload. If we do not find ways to reduce stress, it may lead to many health issues and brain health challenges.

In the process of this attempt to write, I noticed my own resistance and procrastination to tackle this topic. This human foible touches each one of us at times for many reasons known only to us. We may make excuses about why we do not pursue a particular action that will benefit us when we take steps forward. While I live on the island of good intention, I often find many reasons to delay taking steps to success including swimming through the sea of unknown.

After I have resolved my inner conflicts about a particular action and take a step forward, I expand my own growth and allow the road of inspiration of new thoughts that open doors to greater creativity. Sometimes, we just need to start and put one foot in front of the other. The first step leads us to a clearing path to complete the once daunting act.

I often muse about the great poets and minds of our time. They fearlessly reach into their souls to reveal our humanity through their eloquence and mastery of language. These gifts touch our hearts and minds with deeper truths. Language used in poetic mastery can paint visions of the mysteries of life that simplify complex ideas into visitations of imagery. The renown poet and author, David Whyte, writes eloquently about the depth of the human condition and addresses his perception of procrastination and has spoken loudly to me in his essay appropriately called "Procrastination".

Inner Dimensions photo by Leslie Van Grove

“Procrastination is not what it seems. What looks from the outside like our delay; our lack of commitment; even our laziness may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and a central struggle with the core realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds. To hate our procrastinating tendencies is in some way to hate our relationship with time itself, to be unequal to the phenomenology of revelation and the way it works its own quiet way in its very own seasonal and gifted time, only emerging when the very qualities it represents have a firm correspondence in our necessarily struggling heart and imagination."

From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press


Photo: Inner Dimensions, Doorway into Time
© Leslie Van Grove 2005

While Whyte writes about the percolation and seeding thoughts to allow them to germinate into bloom, procrastination about hearing health should not follow this supposition as delays may have long-term health consequences.

Consider your hearing health for brain longevity — Are procrastination and denial closely related?

 When considering one’s hearing health and the possible daunting admission of the need for hearing aids, what may be obstacles to pursuing a life filled with sweet sounds of the world and communicating with loved ones?

For some an obstacle may be costs. Speak to your audiologist about options available to you they may have helpful resources. Denying the need for hearing help doesn’t change the reality and necessity that could have long-term health concerns.

Is your procrastination armor preventing you from growing into the fullest potential and recognition of the gifts you offer to your community and the world? For some, loved ones in our lives may become a crutch as they often assist and relay communications when trying to connect to conversations and also alert us to potential dangers we may not hear. This gracious gift can also be exhausting for those who are the interpreters.

Hearing aids will make me look old.

Some may have the misbelief that hearing aids will make them look old while still vigorous. In a culture that projects ageism and values youth, this is certainly a sensitive concern. My observation is that one thing that will make one appear “old” or mentally slow is disengaging and shrinking from the world. As emotionally daunting as admitting to a hearing loss may be, separating oneself from community because the challenges of discerning conversations has its own complications including mis-perception by withdrawing. Shrinking from socialization may be misconstrued as losing touch with one’s surroundings and others may perceive it as a decline in cognitive health With current technological developments, many hearing aids are so small they are unnoticeable, and being able to reengage with life will be empowering.

Let’s be the change.

Let us open ourselves to discussions with one another about the joys of growing older and taking control of our lives by advocating for our well-being and not shy away from the perceived obstacles in our path. Let us circumnavigate the doors of perception to find an open window to express the fullness of our being and understand our individual reasons for procrastinating and take steps to successfully becoming our powerful future selves.

Hearing loss is a growing public-health challenge and the third most chronic condition in the United States. Hearing acuity can change over time so making it a high priority to seek help if you sense that your ability to discern sounds is becoming a challenge. Unrealistic and prolonged delay may not be in our best interest. Has there been a time when you have delayed doing something or made excuses and once you took action exclaimed, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” as a whole new world of opportunities opened up by taking small steps. Growing older does not have to be a daunting experience, but a gift and blessing that many are not allotted.

Reasons to stop procrastinating

  • Untreated hearing loss has been shown to lead to
    • Brain atrophy. When sounds are not translated to recognizable tones, the brain “muscle” is not exercised and those with untreated hearing loss are at high risk of developing cognitive memory loss and dementia.
    • Hearing loss influences the vestibular system that controls balance; therefore untreated hearing loss may lead to sudden falls.
    • Did you know that if you can’t hear your footsteps you are at high risk for stumbling?
  • Emotional health. Those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report anxiety, paranoia, isolation, loneliness and depression.
  • Cognitive load or listener fatigue. Those with hearing loss are always trying to put word puzzles together and after time, it is exhausting to try to engage in conversation and activities.
  • Relationship challenges – negative emotions felt as a result of hearing loss include frustration, resentment, loneliness, social isolation, communication difficulties, a reduction in shared activities and loss of companionship.
    • Frequent misunderstandings occur due to miscommunication.
    • One is less likely to participate in organized social activities compared with those who wear hearing aids.
  • Income and Employment: those with hearing loss average earned $20,000 less per year than those who wear hearing aids (Better Hearing Institute).
  • Impacts physical and mental health
    • Social isolation is a known risk factor for dementia, accelerates brain atrophy or shrinkage; there is a 3x THREE TIMES more risk of falling and accidental injuries are 50% more likely than those who use their hearing aids.
    • Walking, balancing and falls are associated with hearing loss.
  • Other medical conditions including
    • Cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia are recognized associated medical conditions.

Good news! Treating hearing loss has a positive outcome.

  • Lowers risks of falls
  • Improved brain health
  • Ability to engage with community resulting in less isolation, loneliness and depression and better overall health
  • Preventing or slowing cognitive decline
  • Helps with tinnitus
  • Gives renewed self assurance
  • Increased earning power and better job performance
  • Better quality of life – the subtle messages to those we meet state value relationships, we tackle problems actively
  • You value relationships as those who wear hearing aids have a stronger social network
  • You like to be active and have more exuberance for living

Please advocate for your own health. If you currently wear hearing aids, visit your hearing professional regularly to have your instruments fine-tuned, cleaned and working at top performance. Sometimes a tiny bit of dust or moisture in the receiver or hearing aid can distort the sound quality.

If you are concerned about your hearing or that of a loved one, do not delay and act in behalf of your own well-being. You take care of your eyesight and dental concerns. Make your hearing health top priority in your wellness program. At very minimum, visit your health care professional to receive a baseline audiogram and speak about current technologies and options available to you. Just this little action and not continuing to procrastinate may help you continue ­­­to experience your highest quality of life with vitality to find joy every moment of the day.


“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver