Identifying the Signs of Hearing Loss

March 30, 2020

Identifying the Signs of Hearing Loss
 
Dr. Darcy Benson
Latest posts by Dr. Darcy Benson (see all)

With about 35 million Americans suffering some form of hearing loss, it is likely that you or someone you know may experience hearing loss. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of people with hearing loss live without the benefits of treatment in the form of hearing aids.

On average, it takes seven years for a person to get hearing aids, once they notice they’re suffering from hearing loss. The thing about hearing loss is that it isn’t always obvious to the person suffering it, especially if it is symmetrical between the ears. When our vision is blurry, we know it. We see it everywhere we look! By contrast, it’s harder to know what aspects of the sonic landscape we’re missing out on when our hearing ability declines.

We might hear voices and think we’re hearing all there is to them. We might think people are mumbling, when in fact we could be missing some crucial high-frequency information. Sounds might be happening all around us that we don’t notice. Unless our hearing loss has come on very suddenly, we likely will not notice it happening until it is very advanced.

So how do we know it’s time to get our hearing tested and see if hearing aids would be recommended for us? Well, it’s a great idea to get a hearing test whether you know you need one or not, but there are some clues we can tune into that might indicate we could benefit from hearing loss treatment.

 

Signs of Hearing Loss

There are lots of cues to think about when trying to assess whether you might have a hearing loss. Let’s break them down by three broad types and take a look.

 

1- Conversational

We can think of a conversational cue to hearing loss as anything that involves real-time communication and speech recognition.

  • Do you ask people to repeat themselves, and sometimes still have difficulty making out what they’re saying on the second or third time?
  • What about talking in groups? If you have difficulty following a conversation in a group of people, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
  • If you think people are mumbling all the time, it could be that you’re not taking in the higher frequencies of their speech.
  • Do you spend time with small children? If you have trouble hearing their high-pitched voices, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
  • Do you find yourself pretending to hear in conversation? If we have to ask people to repeat themselves a few times, we are apt to give up and just start nodding in agreement to save the irritation of further interruptions. Missing out on the overall arc of someone’s story can definitely be a sign of hearing loss.

2- Technological

Here are a few things to pay attention to with the technology around you, to see if you might be suffering from hearing loss.

  • Do you frequently turn up the volume on the TV or the car radio? If you’re with someone else, do they ask you to turn them down? The mismatch in comfortable listening level might be indicative of hearing loss.
  • Have you slept through your alarm lately? Maybe you’re not hearing it! Hearing loss never sleeps.
  • Do you have trouble on the phone? Maybe you try to turn the phone up, and it won’t go any higher. Maximum phone volumes are set to be safe for consumers; if you need it louder, you’re likely suffering from hearing loss.
  • The last time you went to the movies, did you have a hard time understanding the dialogue? The actors probably did not mumble through the film… It is more likely that you have hearing loss.

3- Lifestyle Changes

As hearing loss progresses, we might find ourselves changing our habits away from things where hearing loss makes participation more difficult.

  • Have you discontinued a favored hobby?
  • Any social groups you’re a part of that you’re skipping out on lately?
  • Do you go to restaurants or bars less frequently?
  • Are you having trouble at work?
  • Spending less time with friends and family?

If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, hearing loss could be the cause. But there’s no need to speculate; schedule a hearing test and find out for sure whether you need hearing aids. Most of the problems outlined above can be solved or lessened with the use of hearing aids, so get a hearing test today!