You would think hearing loss would be simple to identify, but it’s not as straightforward to notice as you might think.
First, many people with hearing loss have problems only with certain 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 tough time hearing.
Second, hearing loss comes about slowly and gradually over the years, so it’s difficult to recognize the slow development. It’s easier to find fault with other people for mumbling, or to turn up the TV volume a bit higher, than to confess that you might have hearing loss.
As a result, the signs and symptoms can be subtle. You have to understand what to watch out for, and although it’s easy to reject that you have hearing loss, you should be truthful with yourself about the warning signs.
Here are the top 10 to watch out for. If you detect the presence of any, it may be time to book a hearing test.
- You experience ringing in the ears – this might be an indicator of permanent hearing damage. Hearing aids can not only cause you to hear better, but they may also be able to eliminate the ringing in your ears.
- You can’t hear regular household sounds – hearing loss can make it tough to hear the doorbell, the phone ringing, or another person shouting your name from another room.
- You have difficulty understanding TV dialogue – speech is typically more difficult to hear than other kinds of sound. This frequently manifests itself as trouble following movie or TV show plots.
- You have your cellphone, television, or radio at maximum volume – if you can hear the TV, phone, or radio much better than you can hear personal conversations, check out the volume settings on your technology. You could have these devices set at excessive volumes while at the same time thinking that everyone else speaks too softly.
- You ask people to repeat themselves regularly – 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 misread what people are saying – consonants are higher-pitched, and thus more difficult to hear, than the lower-pitched vowels. Given that consonants communicate the majority of the meaning in a sentence, speech comprehension suffers.
- You have difficulty hearing all the words in a discussion – select sounds and letters are more difficult to hear than others. What this means is you can hear most of the words in a sentence, but that you have to many times try to fill in the blanks.
- You have difficulty hearing when your back is to the speaker – you may depend on lip reading, nonverbal communication, and other cues to meaning much more than you realize. When you’re not facing the speaker, and can’t use these cues, you may have difficulty understanding speech.
- You have difficulty hearing with lots 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 locations, but it becomes progressively 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 remark that you have the TV volume too loud or that you have the habit 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 you do, book your hearing test today, and take the steps to begin living an improved, more productive, and healthier life.