For people with hearing loss, the most common experience is that while they can hear, they cannot understand. Hearing loss affects our abilities to identify the direction and source of a sound, the speakers’ position, and recognize speech.
Hearing loss often occurs gradually, which means that the signs may not be evident right away, and people may not even notice that they are missing everyday sounds, such as a mobile phone in a bag or the chirp of birds.
If you suspect that your hearing abilities – or that of someone you love – have been changing, look at some common signs of hearing loss below.
Social Signs of Hearing Loss
When you’re in conversation with people, do you find it challenging to understand what they’re saying? Does conversation seem more difficult when you’re in noisier environments? In social settings, hearing loss becomes much more difficult if untreated.
You may ask people to repeat what they say or to speak louder. You may think that people are mumbling and ask them to slow down or speak more clearly. You may not notice if someone is addressing you from behind. You may also find that you are bluffing through conversations or spending more time reading lips. You may also notice that phone conversations are more complex, even if the volume is turned up.
Emotional Signs of Hearing Loss
People tend to withdraw from social situations because communication becomes difficult with untreated hearing loss. People may also avoid discussing their experiences with their friends and families due to embarrassment or shame.
It may be challenging to understand higher-frequency voices, like women and children, with certain forms of hearing loss. As a result, you may feel isolated from some of your family members and people you love. If you’ve found yourself avoiding social situations, this could indicate hearing loss. Isolation from social withdrawal may eventually lead to depression.
Struggling in communication with your colleagues may be a sign of hearing loss. In your professional life, you may find it difficult to concentrate on the job and be more anxious and stressed out than usual. It may be challenging to follow conversations in meetings, and you may miss specific steps in carrying out directions.
Medical Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a medical condition – in fact, the third most common one in the United States. Hearing loss may be hereditary; do older members of your family experience hearing loss? At the same time, hearing loss affects one in three people over the age of 65 as a natural part of the aging process (presbycusis). Hearing specialists recommend that people in their 50s take an annual hearing test to monitor hearing abilities.
If you experience frequent ear infections or have taken certain forms of antibiotics, these could affect your hearing abilities. Additionally, if you experience cardiovascular issues, diabetes, or thyroid problems, you may also experience difficulty hearing.
Injuries to your neck, head, and ear area could affect your hearing abilities. If you’ve recently been exposed to loud noise, you may find that your hearing has changed.
What to Do If You Suspect Hearing Loss
Taking a hearing test is the most critical step you can take if you suspect that you, or someone you love, are experiencing hearing loss. On average, people tend to wait five to seven years before they decide to address their hearing issues. During this time, your personal and professional life and your health and well-being could be adversely affected by untreated hearing loss.
These common signs of hearing loss may be related to other issues, another crucial reason to take a hearing test. Hearing tests help identify your hearing abilities, and if there is no hearing loss present, you may find other ways to address these issues.
Hearing loss is most commonly treated with the prescription of hearing aids. We specialize in comprehensive hearing tests and the fitting of hearing aids. By addressing these issues with hearing loss, you’ll find that you can reconnect to the world around you.