With hearing loss affecting approximately 20% of Americans of all ages the chance that it could happen to you is not unlikely. However it may be harder to self diagnose hearing loss then you may first expect. This is because hearing loss can sneak up slowly, initially making it difficult to understand certain tones and pitches.
For instance you may have trouble hearing children or adults with higher or lower pitched voices. It is all too easy to blame hearing issues on the speaker, suspecting they mumble or speak too quietly rather than accepting that the issue is early hearing loss. Often people do not realize they have a hearing issue until they struggle to hear in even the most ideal of situations.
Identifying Hearing Loss Early
The sooner you can identify your hearing loss, the sooner you can seek treatment. When hearing loss goes untreated it can start to affect the quality of the relationships in your life as well as your performance at work. As personal and professional relationships erode, it is common to become anxious around social situations, choose to self-isolate and become depressed.
People who ignore or delay treating their hearing loss are often less likely to stay active, pursue hobbies and their passions. While we hear with our ears, we listen with our brain, and as we become less socially active due to hearing loss, the risk of brain atrophy, due to lack of stimulation, increases. Studies even link hearing loss to a higher risk of developing dementia.
Know the Signs
When you are accustomed and can recognize common signs of hearing loss you can self diagnose yourself and help your friends get the help they need. Keep an ear out for these common signs so you know when it is time to visit an audiologist to help diagnose the extent and nature of your hearing loss.
You have to ask people to repeat themselves
The number one clue that you have hearing loss is the need to ask others to repeat themselves in conversation. It is normal to not hear people and have to ask for clarification every now and then but if this becomes a habit, it can build tension at home and cause a lack of confidence in your professional relationships. Often people will grow tired of asking for clarification and pretend to understand, which can slowly leave you out of the loop at work and home.
Trouble hearing regular household sound
If you keep missing your phone ringing, your doorbell or the end of your washer cycle then you may have a hearing problem that is very developed.
Trouble hearing the phone
One of the most common clues that you have hearing loss is trouble hearing over the phone. You may have to turn the volume all the way up and still struggle to hear.
Constant conflict over the volume
If you feel like there is a constant issue with the volume you like the TV in order to hear then it could indicate a hearing issue. Often daily conflicts over the TV or radio in your home amongst family can build tension and add to stress that can be avoided by treating hearing loss.
Difficulty hearing amongst background noise
It is normal to struggle to hear in a crowd but if this becomes consistent then it could be illuminating a hearing issue. As hearing loss progresses, competing noise becomes more of a challenge. Even if you can hear in quiet places just fine, recognizing this early sign of hearing loss and seeking treatment can help you prevent many of the dangerous side effects of untreated hearing loss.
Ringing in the ears
Also known as tinnitus, this condition is not exclusively due to hearing loss but very often linked. When the inner ear becomes damaged it often sends feedback to the brain, which is manifested as tinnitus symptoms.
While the most common causes of hearing loss are often irreversible this condition can effectively be treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the specific sounds in which you struggle and send the sounds down your ear canal towards your inner ear.
Hearing loss can help mask tinnitus symptoms, amplify conversation so you don’t have as many misunderstandings, help you hear amongst background noise and help you rebuild your most precious relationships today. Make sure to check your hearing annually and if a hearing loss is detected treat it right away!