Those of you who subscribe to Netflix may have discovered a new show entitled Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. The basic premise is to examine your home and possessions to bring order to what you have, cast off those items no longer wanted or required, and retain the important material things that have a purpose and function.

With each item, Marie Kondo asks that you make a decision whether or not the thing will spark joy for you. This process allows you to take that step with each item in determining whether you wish to retain it because of its usefulness and pleasure it brings or finally realize its purpose is complete and it is negative “clutter” that If the answer is no, then it is time to take your next step.

Take a personal inventory of the positives and negatives of your hearing and how it affects you and those you interact with every day.

Here is a sample list of things to consider: • Do I hear and understand everything that is said to me?

  • Do I hear people speak but don’t understand what is asked or stated, in whole or in part?
  • Do I need to ask people to repeat what they asked or stated?
  • Do I need the television volume to be louder than what someone else requires?
  • such as a doorbell, knock at the door, telephone ringing, voice from another room, or dialogue on a television program? • Do I blame others for mumbling?
  • Do I get frustrated or angry because I can’t hear?
  • Am I fatigued at the end of the day because I have been listening so hard?
  • Do I feel ashamed because of my hearing?
  • Am I uncomfortable in group settings?
  • Do family members or friends ever mention that I have a hard time hearing?
  • Do those same people get angry with me because I can’t hear?
  • Do I feel depressed or have become introverted because of my poorer hearing? • Finally, does my hearing spark joy?

After reading these questions, if you realize a negative profile has emerged due to your hearing, the time has come to declutter your life. When your receptive and expressive communication is adversely affected by the decline in your ability to hear and understand, action is a must.

The first step is to contact a private practice audiologist and schedule an appointment for a complete audiological evaluation—a hearing test. Most insurance carriers will approve this procedure. Your deductible, coinsurance, and copays may apply. Your audiologist will review the results of the evaluation and provide professional recommendations. Second, if new digital amplification is required, make it your top priority to get these hearing aids now. Your audiologist will customize the counseling and aural rehabilitation to ensure your daily success.

Everything else in your life that you spend money on is important—why not your hearing? When you come down to it, we’re looking at the quality of your life. Really, does your hearing spark joy for you and others?