Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss

Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss

In Hearing Loss by Jennifer Douberly, Au.D.

Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million people in the US alone or 1 in 8 people. This means that you or someone you love may suffer from this condition. This issue is that hearing loss begins slowly and becomes progressively worse over time. Many people have serious hearing loss and don’t even know it because of this slow progression. You might not even realize until someone comments on a sound that you just can’t hear. It’s all too easy to be in denial about this condition, however this can make some of the dangerous psychological and mental side effects of hearing loss worse.

Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss

While hearing loss is an issue that occurs in the ears, sound is processed in the brain. Your ears can become damaged due to factors such as exposure to noise, old age, some medications, head trauma or infection. Your brain is forced to listen to conversation and respond with limited information. This can ultimately put a strain on your relationships between the people closest to you as well as professional relationships. When hearing loss goes undiagnosed it can start to cause chronic depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Ultimately self-esteem and a sense of independence is impacted as hearing loss progresses. It can cause people to self-isolate and become under stimulated, causing cognitive decline and a heightened risk of dementia. It also increases the risk of falls and accidents which can be particularly devastating for the older demographic who are most commonly affected by hearing loss.

Knowing the Signs

The sooner you treat hearing loss the sooner you can begin to avoid the dangerous and irreversible side effects. Knowing the signs of hearing loss can help you seek treatment and begin to improve quality of life again. Symptoms of hearing loss may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Here are a few symptoms to look out for in yourself and in the people close to you.

Asking to Repeat Often

This is one of the most common signs of hearing loss is when you find you have to ask people to repeat themselves more often than not. It’s common for anyone to have to ask to repeat themselves every now and then but as hearing loss progresses this will become the norm, instead of the exception. 

Incorrect Responses

Do you ever find yourself embarrassed because you didn’t hear or misheard what someone said? This can get awkward and leave other people feeling awkward as your response to a question is not appropriate. This can start to strain social interactions between friends and at work.

Others Sound Like They Are Mumbling

For people with hearing loss people with higher pitch voices may be harder to hear. Sometimes it may be people with lower voices which slip just under the radar of your hearing ability. Unfortunately, people stay in denial of their hearing loss for blaming others for mumbling while it may be an issue you could treat with hearing aids.

You Turn Up the Volume Excessively

You may find yourself listening to the television and having nightly conflicts over the volume with people in your life. While it may sound fine to you, if people complain you are turning the TV up too loud you should schedule a hearing test. This is a huge root of conflict in families which can cause huge rifts in relationships.

You Struggle to Hear Over the Phone

When you can’t hear over the phone you can miss important information. This can impact your professional life as well as your relationships. This can add unneeded conflict and impact your social life.

You Only Hear When People Are Facing You

It may be increasingly difficult to hear people when they speak to you from another room or without facing you. That’s because, whether you realize it or not you may be relying on facial expression, lip reading and other visual cues, to compensate for hearing loss.

Act Now!

These may not be issues with your hearing, but you’ll never know unless you get your hearing tested. A hearing exam is quick and painless. Once you know the results you have the agency to act. When you treat your hearing loss you have the power to hear clearly again and maintain your quality of life.