The National Institute of Health (NIH) notes that 15% (37.5 million) of adults in America report some type of trouble with their hearing. Treating this growing problem improves mental and physical health as well as enhancing the quality of life for hearing loss sufferers and their families. Intervention is easy and painless, but identifying hearing loss is difficult because it occurs gradually over time. As part of my commitment to better hearing in the Pensacola community, I have compiled a list of early indicators or warning signs of hearing loss and the steps you should take if you are experiencing them.
What are the Warning Signs of Hearing Loss?
Because hearing loss comes on gradually, the person experiencing it has to pay attention to the people around him or her, and the changes in interaction. Some of the warning signs associated with hearing loss include:
- Muffled Speech and Sounds
- Difficulty Understanding Speech with Background Noise
- Issues with Distinguishing Consonants (Ns from Ms or Ts from Ps)
- Asking Others to Speak Slower, Clearer, or Louder With Greater Frequency
- Others Complain that the Volume on the TV or Radio Is Too Loud
- Withdrawing from Social Activities or Conversations
- Exhaustion from Social Settings
- Telephone Conversations Become Difficult to Understand
- Tinnitus, or Ringing in Your Ears
- An Increase in Headaches and/or Fatigue
- Difficulty Understanding Women and Children or Hearing Higher Frequency Sounds
- Complaints from Others That You Are Shouting
What You Should Do If You Have these Signs or Symptoms
Untreated hearing loss, according to Hear It, can lead to more serious health problems, which might include anxiety, isolation, and depression, as well as contribute to heart disease, dementia, and increased damage to your hearing. To prevent these additional health concerns from becoming serious issues, you should schedule a hearing exam as soon as possible if you exhibit any, several, or all of the signs or symptoms in the list above. Hearing exams are quick, non-invasive, and should be a regular part of your annual health regimen, especially if you are over the age of 50.
What Takes Place During a Hearing Test
A hearing test usually starts with a friendly discussion about your medical and family history, medications you are taking, your occupation, and lifestyle. We will also talk about various situations and circumstances when you experience difficulty hearing. A physical examination of your ears, looking for blockages due to earwax, swelling, or growths in the ear canal, follows our discussion.
After my physical examination of your ears, I will conduct another test using headphones and the transmission of sounds at various frequencies and volume levels to establish what sounds you can and cannot hear. Some cases require additional tests, none of which are painful or difficult. Following my evaluation, we will review the results of your tests together. If you need treatment, we will also discuss treatment options, which can but do not always include hearing aids.
Hearing loss comes on slowly, so you might not notice it early on. Although persons over the age of 60 have a higher risk of developing a hearing loss, under certain conditions, hearing loss can affect individuals of all ages. Your best bet, especially if you are noticing warning signs of hearing loss, is to schedule a hearing assessment with The Hearing Center of Medical Center Clinic so that we can establish a baseline for future evaluation of your hearing.
The sooner we can diagnose it, the sooner we can stop any additional damage, provide better hearing, and help you to maintain your active lifestyle without missing a step. Contact us to schedule a hearing evaluation at The Hearing Center today.