Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. Hearing loss is caused by exposure to very loud noise, by genetic factors, or even by illnesses and injuries. Hearing loss can also be part of the aging process. Around 50 million Americans have hearing loss. If you think you or a loved one may have hearing loss, here’s how to identify the signs of hearing loss.
Hearing in Background Noise
One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is having a hard time hearing in noise. You may have no problem hearing when you’re in a quiet spot, but as soon as you have to contend with background noise, it becomes much harder to hear.
Trouble Following Conversations
Another early sign of hearing loss is having trouble following conversations. Hearing loss can often impact higher pitched sounds first. This includes sounds like birds chirping outside, a beeping alarm clock, or consonant sounds in speech. When you can’t quite hear all the consonants, it’s very difficult to follow conversations and actually understand what’s being said.
Asking People to Repeat Themselves
Have you started asking everyone to repeat themselves? This is a sign of hearing loss. You often struggle to catch what was said the first time around. If you have hearing loss, you ask people to repeat what they said, ask them to speak up, or complain that they’re mumbling.
Turning Up the Volume
If you or a loved one has hearing loss, you’ll notice that the volume on the TV starts creeping higher. It’s more difficult to hear what’s being said, so the only way you know how to fix it is by turning up the volume. If your family is complaining that the TV is very loud, or they won’t let your turn on the radio in the car because it hurts their ears, you probably have hearing loss.
Trouble Talking on the Phone
Another common sign of hearing loss is having a hard time following conversations on the phone. When you talk to someone over the phone, only one ear is hearing the conversations and sending information to the brain. Not only that, but you can’t rely on other cues like facial expression or body language, to figure out what’s being said. If you or a loved one doesn’t like talking on the phone anymore, this could be a sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss makes it hard to stay social. When you struggle to have conversations, and it’s even harder to hear in background noise, you’re much less likely to go out and see friends. You may withdraw from conversations, stick to yourself, or avoid social settings all together. This can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and even depression.
Hearing Loss is Gradual
For many people, hearing loss doesn’t happen in one day. Hearing loss is a gradual process that extends over a number of weeks or months. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when you started mishearing things, but as time goes on your hearing slowly gets worse.
You may not actually be the first person to realize that you have hearing loss. After all, you’ve been slowly adjusting to the new normal as it changes slightly day by day. For example, you gradually stopped hearing the hum of the fridge a while ago, but you never consciously thought about it. Your family are the ones who might notice your hearing loss first. If your loved ones tell you they think you have hearing loss, take it seriously. They’re probably right.
Can you identify these common signs of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one? The next step is to schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test. During this test, all you have to do is indicate when you’ve heard a sound. We’ll test a range of sounds at a number of volumes to find your hearing threshold at each pitch. Then we can recommend the best hearing aids to help you with your unique hearing loss.
Modern hearing aids have advanced programs and features designed to make it easy to follow conversations. Whether you’re in a place with background noise or on the phone, you’ll easily hear your loved one’s voice and connect with the people that matter the most.