You would think hearing loss should be simple to spot, but it’s not as straightforward to recognize as you may think.
To begin with, most individuals with hearing loss have trouble only with specific sounds and in distinct situations. Consequently, if you can hear normally on some occasions, you’ll have the tendency to blame other factors or other people for the occasions you do have a hard time hearing.
Second, hearing loss appears slowly as time passes, so it’s difficult to recognize the slow progression. It’s faster and easier to find fault with other people for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a little higher, than to confess that you may have hearing loss.
So, the signs and symptoms can be subtle. You need to understand what to watch out for, and while it’s easy to disavow that you have hearing loss, you should be honest with yourself about the warning signs.
Here are the top 10 to look out for. If you detect the presence of any, it may be time to set up a hearing exam.
- You experience ringing or buzzing in the ears – this may be a symptom of permanent hearing damage. Hearing aids can not only cause you to hear better, but they may also be able to relieve the ringing in your ears.
- You are not able to hear normal household sounds – hearing loss can make it tough to hear the doorbell, the telephone ringing, or a friend shouting your name from another room.
- You have trouble comprehending TV dialogue – speech is generally a lot more challenging to hear than other types of sound. This often manifests itself as difficulty following movie or TV show plots.
- You have your phone, TV, or radio at max volume – if you can hear the television, phone, or radio much better than you can hear face-to-face discussions, check the volume settings on your devices. You might have these gadgets set at elevated volumes while concurrently thinking that everyone else speaks too softly.
- You request that people repeat themselves often – you notice that you say “what?” a lot, or that you need to ask people to repeat themselves when you’re not facing them.
- You commonly misconstrue what people are saying – consonants are higher-pitched, and therefore more difficult to hear, than the lower-pitched vowels. Since consonants convey most of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
- You have difficulty hearing all the words in a conversation – particular sounds and letters are more challenging to hear than others. This means you can hear the majority of the words in a sentence, but that you have to many times try to fill in the blanks.
- You have trouble hearing when your back is to the speaker – you may be dependent on lip reading, nonverbal communication, and other cues to meaning much more than you think. When you’re not facing the speaker, and can’t use these cues, you may have trouble understanding speech.
- You have a hard time hearing with lots of background noise – as hearing loss gets to be worse, competing noise becomes more of a challenge. You may be able to hear speech in quiet locations, but it becomes increasingly difficult to follow conversations in a boisterous environment like a restaurant.
- People say that you shout or have the TV volume too loud – people may comment that you have the TV volume too loud or that you have the proclivity to shout. It doesn’t seem this way to you because you’re compensating for your hearing loss.
Do you have one or more of the top 10 warning signs of hearing loss? If so, book your hearing test today, and take the steps to begin living a better, more productive, and healthier life.