Identifying Hearing Loss
Our ability to hear affects the ways we can interact with the world around us from negotiating traffic to enjoying a dinner conversation with friends. It is the core sense we use in everyday communication and our ears are constantly bringing us new sounds to process.
We are continually using our sense of hearing and because most hearing loss happens gradually it can be hard to detect if hearing loss is affecting you. The ability to still hear sound leads many people with hearing loss have the feeling that their hearing is fine, but they are just having trouble with comprehending what they hear. On average, individuals with hearing loss delay having their hearing examined for seven years from the time they first suspect they may be experiencing hearing issues.
If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, it makes sense to set up an exam for your hearing as soon as possible. The stress of long-term untreated hearing problems is linked to anxiety, isolation, depression and even dementia. Conversely, most hearing loss can be managed if treatment is sought. Treating hearing loss has been shown to increase quality of life from a sense of safety and strengthened relationships to increased earnings. Once you recognize signs of hearing loss in yourself, stay proactive and seek a doctor’s help to stay on the road to wellness.
Look for symptoms you may not be hearing the sounds around you to the fullest range. Signs like these include:
- Continually having to turn up the volume on a television or radio
- Being unable to hear voices when you cannot see the speakers mouth move (i.e. someone speaking behind you)
- Being unable to hear a movie’s soundtrack in a theater
- Missing an alarm clock or bell because you did not hear the sound
These symptoms can be the most confusing to confront – they can seem to indicate a loss of mental comprehension rather than hearing clarity. Because our ability to understand each other is so closely tethered to how well we are able to hear and listen, it makes sense to consider possible hearing loss when we have trouble understanding the world around us. Things to watch for include:
- Having difficulty following conversations in group settings or noisy places like parties, restaurants or sporting events
- Often asking people to repeat what they are saying
- Having a hard time talking on the phone
- Often assuming that people are mumbling because you cannot understand what they are saying
Emotional and Behavioral Indicators
Signs of hearing loss can resonate in our social behavior. Navigating the world with hearing problems changes how we feel and act. Common symptoms of untreated hearing loss include:
- Feeling isolated and unable to effectively communicate with friends and family
- A fear, anxiousness or dread at going to noisy places or crowded locations
- Editing activities out of your calendar that you feel you no longer “fully experience”
- Feeling embarrassed that you cannot hear or understand something
Take Action, Reach Out
Hearing loss is very common, increasingly so as we age. A third of the population over 65 experiences hearing loss and that number increases to half the population over age 75. Over 45 million people live with hearing loss and technology is constantly improving treatment options and social resources. If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, you are not alone and the diagnosis and treatment of hearing issues can return clarity to your life.
It pays to be direct – if you detect trouble with your own hearing, you can compare your auditory experience to those of your friends and family. If everyone around you is hearing the television as “way too loud” or nobody else thinks the mailman mumbles it may be time to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Communicating honestly and reaching out will also help you build a support network as you negotiate hearing loss. It helps those closest to you understand what you are experiencing.
When you experience the symptoms of hearing loss, seek help. Your initial step is to set up a hearing exam. The professionals at Hearing Wellness Solutions are happy to offer you compassionate, straightforward assistance. Your hearing is deeply linked to your overall health and Hearing Wellness Solutions is committed to helping you be your best.