If you suspect you are living with hearing loss you are not alone. In just the United States, approximately 50 million people are living with some type of hearing loss. You might believe that you would know for sure if you are suffering from hearing loss but this is not always the case.
Hearing Loss Develops over Time
Often, by the time people admit they are living with hearing loss they can not hear even in the best of listening situations. The longer you live with untreated hearing loss the more you become at risk for several side effects of hearing loss including, a loss in quality of relationships, depression, anxiety, social isolation and a strain on cognitive function. Many studies link hearing loss to higher risk of developing dementia.
Hearing Loss and Denial
Often people will blame others for their inability to hear parts of conversation, accusing others of mumbling or not speaking clearly enough. It is often close friends or family that are the first to suggest to a loved one that they may be living with a hearing loss. It is common for people to become resentful of such suggestions as many associate admitting hearing loss synonymously with unwanted aging. It is important for the person with hearing loss to not become defensive, as suggesting to someone that they are living with hearing loss is an act of care for another.
Know the Signs
When people understand the signs of hearing loss they have more of a chance of admitting they have a hearing problem and will be more likely to seek out treatment. Learn to recognize the signs of hearing loss so you can seek treatment and continue to enjoy emotional and physical health.
Some common signs of hearing loss include:
You ask people to repeat themselves frequently – If this is you it may not be a problem with the manner of the other’s speech. This is a tell tale sign of hearing loss.
- You are often misunderstanding what people are saying – It is often high-pitched sounds such as the consonants in words that are the first to go at the onset of hearing loss. This can compromise speech comprehension significantly forcing your brain to work over time to understand what people are trying to convey.
- Trouble hearing amongst a lot of background noise – As hearing declines background noise will make understanding conversation much more of a challenge. Even if you can hear in quiet environments, places like parties and restaurants will be harder to hear in.
- Difficulty hearing when not facing a person speaking – This might be due to a realized dependence you have developed on lip reading and non-verbal communication such as body language, as your hearing subtly declines.
- Ringing in the ears with no apparent external source – Also known as tinnitus, this condition often occurs in tandem with a hearing loss.
- People around you complain that you watch TV with volume too loud – As hearing loss develops often people will adjust the volume higher and higher on their televisions, phones and home audio systems. If the people around you are complaining about the level you are listening to, this could be a clue that it is time to get a hearing test.
- Trouble hearing regular household sounds – You may start to miss your phone or the doorbell when it rings. Subtle sounds may begin to disappear like the chirping of birds out the window or the crickets at dusk.
Exploring your Options
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it is your safest bet to get a hearing test. Hearing tests are quick and painless. Once you have done this you can know for sure if you are dealing with hearing loss, it’s nature and severity. The best treatment for most hearing loss are hearing aids. These electronic devices help to amplify the sounds around you so you can more easily listen with the existing hearing you still have. Unfortunately many people put off seeking out and wearing hearing aids on average 7-10 years from the time they first suspect they have hearing loss. It is best to not let this problem progress. Set up an appointment for a hearing test today.