You would think that hearing loss would be obvious to identify, but it’s not as straightforward to recognize as you may think.
To start with, most people with hearing loss have trouble only with particular sounds and in specified situations. So, if you can hear normally on some occasions, you’ll be inclined to pin the blame on other factors or other people for the occasions you do have a hard time hearing.
Second, hearing loss comes about slowly over the years, so it’s challenging to notice the slow progression. It’s simpler and easier to pin the blame on others for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a bit higher, than to admit that you may have hearing loss.
So, the signs and symptoms can be subtle. You have to understand what to watch for, and while it’s easy to reject 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 recognize any, it may be time to organize a hearing exam.
- You experience ringing in the ears – this might be an indication of permanent hearing injury. Hearing aids can not only make it easier to hear better, but they may also be able to eliminate the ringing in your ears.
- You are not able to hear regular household sounds – hearing loss can make it challenging to hear the doorbell, the telephone ringing, or somebody shouting your name from another room.
- You have trouble comprehending TV dialogue – speech is usually a lot more difficult to hear than other types of sound. This frequently shows itself as difficulty following movie or television show plots.
- You have your phone, television, or radio at maximum volume – if you can hear the TV, phone, or radio much better than you can hear face-to-face discussions, check the volume settings on your technology. You might have these devices set at elevated volumes while also believing that everyone else speaks too softly.
- You request that people repeat themselves frequently – you realize that you say “what?” a lot, or that you have to ask people to repeat themselves when you’re not facing them.
- You frequently misread what people are saying – consonants are higher-pitched, and thus more difficult to hear, than vowels. Seeing as consonants impart most of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
- You have difficulty hearing all the words in a conversation – specific sounds and letters are more challenging to hear than others. What this means is you can hear the majority of the words in a sentence, but that you have to frequently 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 significantly more than you realize. When you’re not looking at the speaker, and can’t use these cues, you may have trouble comprehending speech.
- You have trouble hearing with a great deal of background noise – as hearing loss becomes more serious, competing noise becomes more of a problem. You might have the capacity to hear speech in quiet surroundings, but it becomes more and more difficult to follow discussions in a loud environment like a restaurant.
- People complain that you shout or have the TV volume too loud – people may comment that you have the television volume too loud or that you have the tendency to shout. It doesn’t appear to be 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 yes, set up your hearing test today, and take the steps to start living an improved, more productive, and healthier life.