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Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Sense of Hearing
Our sense of hearing is always on. Most of us take our hearing for granted because it is an invisible, constant companion. Hearing helps us situate ourselves within our environment and connect to people around us.
On average, it takes a person seven years between the time they first notice symptoms until they seek treatment for hearing loss. When our sense of hearing begins to change, we may not notice immediately. Here are some common signs of hearing loss to look out for.
Difficulty with Speech Recognition
Difficulty with speech recognition is a common sign of hearing loss. It may appear that people around you are mumbling. Because human voices have a large range from high to low notes, hearing loss may only pick up a part of that spectrum. As a result, it sounds like the person you are speaking to is cutting in and out. You may also misunderstand what people say or ask people to repeat themselves often.
Cross Conversation with Multiple Speakers
As with speech recognition, having a conversation with multiple speakers proves difficult with hearing loss. Recognizing speech patterns becomes challenging. If you find yourself at a party or a big dinner table, where multiple conversations occur simultaneously, it may be difficult for you to discern who is saying what. For this reason, social gatherings become a challenge for people who experience hearing loss.
Volumes are Too Loud
Has someone told you recently to turn down the volume on the TV or radio? Or perhaps you’ve realized that the volume on your phone is at maximum and still you cannot hear the conversation on the other end. You may have a dominant ear, and you’ll find yourself switching your phone to that side. You may also sleep through your alarm or miss calls, simply because you do not hear the signals.
Difficulty in Noisy Environments
Background noise has long been an enemy to people with hearing loss. Busy restaurants, public transportation hubs, convention centers, concert halls, auditoriums – all of these spaces share commonality. There are usually busy, with a lot of activity, sounds, and voices occurring simultaneously. Discerning the sounds you want to hear from the background noise becomes difficult with hearing loss.
People with hearing loss have compared muffled sounds to having “cotton in the ears.” Sounds will not cut out completely, necessarily, but some may be clearer than others. Hearing loss hinders the clarity of the sound signal that is being sent to the brain, which makes it difficult for the brain to form a full picture of sound.
Withdrawing socially is something of a culmination of all of the above signs. Because social interactions and getting around in the world becomes significantly more difficult with hearing loss, people tend to isolate themselves. They may begin to avoid social interactions and not engage the way they once did. Hearing loss has been linked to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you are experiencing any of the above, or if you believe your loved one may be, consider seeking a consultation on your hearing health. Hearing loss is more common than you think – it affects 20% of the population in the US. People of all ages may experience hearing loss. Hearing loss occurs at a higher rate in adults over the age of 65 (1 in 3) and over the age of 75 (50%). No matter what age you are, seeking treatment for hearing loss as soon as possible will benefit your hearing health.
Hear all that life has to offer. Visit Hearing Aids Associates at one of our locations for a consultation.