How to Identify the Signs of Hearing Loss

The signs of hearing loss can be significant and appear suddenly, or they may be more subtle and take a while to detect. It is not uncommon to suspect that you have a hearing loss but delay treatment; on average it takes people seven years from the time they first notice hearing impairment to pursue treatment options. Seeking treatment right away is best, and knowing these common indications of hearing loss will help you or your loved one decide if it is time for a hearing exam.

General signs of hearing loss

There are a few general problems that commonly indicate someone has hearing loss. In daily life, these signs may include:

-trouble hearing the telephone or doorbell

-finding it difficult to tell which direction noise is coming from

-listening to music or watching television with the volume higher than other people need

-hearing a ringing, buzzing, or whistling sound in the ears (this is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss)

-difficulty hearing your alarm clock

Social signs of hearing loss

If you or a loved one have hearing loss, the signs will be most evident in social settings, whether it be a living room or a crowded restaurant. There are several communication difficulties that are associated with hearing loss, and these are some of the most troubling for those with hearing loss, interfering with social and work relationships.

Fortunately, a hearing aid will help with most if not all of these problems. You should suspect you have hearing damage and go in for a hearing exam if you:

-commonly have to ask people to repeat themselves

-have difficulty following conversations with 2 or more people

-have trouble hearing women and children

-often answer or respond inappropriately in conversations

-need to read lips or intently watch people’s faces while they are speaking

-have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, such as crowded meeting rooms or public places

-think that other people sound muffled or as though they are mumbling

Medical signs of hearing loss

When thinking about whether you might have a hearing loss, consider your own medical history. There are certain factors that increase your chances of hearing damage such as:

-a family history of hearing loss

-prolonged use of medications that are ototoxic, or harmful to the hearing system

-diabetes, heart, circulation, or thyroid problems

-exposure to loud sounds over a long period, or a single exposure to an explosive noise (many war veterans have hearing damage from explosions)

Emotional signs of hearing loss

It is an understatement to say that trying to navigate through life with undiagnosed or untreated hearing damage is frustrating. The social difficulties that come with not being to properly understand conversations can lead to a variety of emotional problems. These are just a few of the emotional signposts of hearing loss. You may feel:

-stressed or fatigued from straining to hear what others are saying

-irritated at friends, family members, or strangers because you can’t understand them

-embarrassed to meet new people or about potential misunderstandings

-nervous about trying to understand situations

-withdrawn from social activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed

It can be difficult to cope with the frustrations that go along with hearing loss, but these can almost always be improved with proper treatment such as an assistive listening device. If you suspect that you or someone you love has untreated hearing damage, a hearing exam is the first step towards a better quality of life. Contact us at Sound Hearing to schedule a consultation!