The first signs of hearing loss are usually passed off as nothing because the new, slight variance in sounds heard is considered normal. However, these changes can develop over time, so it is helpful to know what to look for today so you can track your hearing ability over the years and get help when you need it.
How Common Is Hearing Loss?
Most people are surprised when I tell them that every one in eight Americans experiences a hearing loss. That’s 30 million people in the US alone, yet many of them go undiagnosed or avoid treatment for a long time.
Why Do So Many People Have an Undiagnosed Hearing Loss?
I believe the fact that many people have an undiagnosed hearing loss is due to a lack of focus on hearing health and a lack of accurate information available to the general public.
Once hearing loss is identified, I find that many patients raise objections as to why they will not take immediate action.
Some of these include not wanting to bear the stigma of wearing a hearing aid, accept the perception of aging, or experience the negative experiences of others.
They also question the value of hearing-help devices considering the cost. However, with the newer hearing technology available and the help of educative, compassionate professionals, none of these objections are obstacles for treatment anymore. Hearing devices now have a range of price points and are virtually invisible.
We have helped thousands of people in our practice successfully use hearing aids, and they appreciate the new ease of communication compared to trying to communicate with their past hearing difficulties.
The Common Signs of Hearing Loss
The most common initial signs of a loss of hearing are:
- It seems that people are mumbling, and general sounds are muffled too.
- You find it hard to hear certain letters in speech such as n’s or t’s.
- You do not understand speech as easily when the people talking are in another room or facing away from you.
- You feel more tired at the end of the day from trying to focus on hearing clearly.
- You find it more difficult to hear someone talking when there is background noise or a competing noise environment.
- You are frequently asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, or speak more slowly.
- You need the TV or radio volume louder than others do.
- Others tell you that you are shouting.
How to Identify Signs in a Loved One
The most common signs of hearing loss in a loved one can include all of the signs mentioned above, but you might also notice:
- They respond inappropriately to questions. (They might think they hear and understand but do not.)
- You have to get their attention multiple times before they are aware you are talking.
- They are not as quick to join conversations.
- They complain of tinnitus, headaches, or fatigue.
Do These Signs Sound Familiar?
The most important thing to do if you are concerned about your or a loved one’s hearing is to schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test.
Audiologists are experts in the assessment and management of hearing and balance. A complete diagnostic hearing test is the first step in assessing and understanding your hearing ability, and once diagnosed, you will find that you have options to ease communication difficulties and to reconnect with the world around you.
A big benefit of diagnosing any hearing issue is that we can offer treatment that might prevent future hearing loss too.
Even if your hearing is good today, having a record of your baseline hearing ability can be invaluable when you come back for future checkups. Contact us to schedule a hearing evaluation at The Hearing Center MCC today.