Hearing loss is a major public health issue. In fact, the numbers show that hearing loss is the third most commonly reported chronic health condition in the United States. Untreated hearing loss is a danger beyond simply challenging communication, it has been linked to a myriad of other conditions like anxiety, depression, dementia and stress.
That’s why it’s so important to identify and intervene early in hearing loss. However, it’s a tricky condition to self-diagnose because the warning signs are so gradual and subtle. Hearing loss is a degenerative condition that happens slowly over time and it can compound into a serious condition without much notice. Here are a few signs that hearing loss may be making an impact on your life.
Everyone has a case of the mumbles
You might begin to think that everyone around you has begun mumbling, or at least not properly annunciating their words. Perhaps you find yourself asking friends and family members to repeat what they’ve said numerous times. This might be cause for investigation. An early sign of hearing loss is when you can hear someone speaking, but you have trouble distinguishing or making sense of their words.
This is because hearing loss doesn’t present in a sudden lowering of volume. The loudness of someone’s speaking voice might be perfectly audible, but the frequencies of their voice aren’t being caught by the delicate inner ear cells that pick-up sound information. Damage to the inner ear cells can be caused by dangerously loud sounds or simply by the aging process. They are so fine-tuned that even a small amount of damage can impact what frequencies you are able to hear.
Silence is unattainable
Tinnitus is a sign of hearing loss, usually associated with noise induced hearing loss. This condition, in which a constant ringing in the ears (or whistling, buzzing or humming) is heard when no sound is present. Unfortunately, it’s a tell-tale sign of damage to the inner ear. Every time tinnitus is present, some degree of hearing loss has occurred. Though, not everyone with hearing loss also experiences tinnitus.
Daily domestic sounds aren’t available
There are commonplace sounds that we hear and perhaps we don’t even register. Maybe the faucet in your kitchen drips repetitive and you’ve learned to tune it out. There are the background noises we take for granted, like birds chirping or the neighborhood kids on their way home from school. If you no longer hear these extraneous sounds, your hearing might be damaged. If you’ve missed calls because you can’t hear the phone ring or didn’t hear the doorbell chime when friends stop by, you should have your hearing checked.
Are you too loud for friends and family?
Pay attention to the ways people react to your volumes. This could be the volume of your own voice, the volume of your television or the volume of your car stereo. If your friends and family remark on a preferred volume of yours being too loud for them, you should mention this to your physician.
In early stages of hearing loss, increasing the volume might mask the true problem, which is hearing loss. But because hearing loss is degenerative, choosing to not intervene will only get you to a place down the road where your hearing loss is much more significant.
Chatting at parties has become exhausting
If conversation at parties is increasingly challenging, hearing loss might be at play. The inability to hear clearly in situations with a lot of background noise can be an early indicator of hearing loss. Specifically, this might come up at cocktail parties or in a group dinner party, especially at a noisy restaurant. Someone with hearing loss might have trouble differentiating between speakers, not clearly understanding what is said when someone isn’t directly facing them or following along with a large group conversation.
Get tested for hearing loss
Scheduling a visit with us at Audio Advantage Hearing Aid Center is the best way to get to the bottom of the hearing loss question. After a quick and easy FREE hearing test, you’ll know for sure the extent that hearing loss is present for you, if it is at all! Once you have a reliable diagnosis, our team will work with you to craft an intervention strategy that works for your life.