Hearing loss is a serious communication issue, creating rifts in relationships at home and at work, leading to feelings of being left out, depression, insomnia and self-isolation. If ignored, hearing loss has been linked to memory problems and higher risk of developing dementia. The problem is that often, people don’t even realize they have a problem with their hearing at all. Hearing loss starts slow, with just certain tones or syllables lost. As it progresses you may not notice you haven’t heard the sound of birds chirping or the wind through the trees for years. When you can know the signs of hearing loss then you can be sure to get your hearing tested before it can progress.
Asking people to repeat themselves
One of the most common signs of hearing is having to ask people to repeat themselves. Every now and then it is common not to hear what someone says, but if you notice this happening more and more often then it may be time to set up a hearing test. Chances are the people in your life have already noticed. Your significant other and family members may become frustrated and at work people may notice that you seem “out of it”. A recent study found that individuals with hearing loss had nearly two times higher odds of unemployment or underemployment than individuals with normal hearing. Make sure to deal with your hearing loss before it gets to this level.
Trouble hearing in noisy settings
It is difficult for most of us to hear in a crowded room or with excess noise. However for many this is a sign of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs as a result of damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, which send sound to the brain to be interpreted. Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may hear muffled speech and have difficulty hearing in background noise. Often this type of hearing loss does not even show up on standard hearing tests because these tests only isolate sound in a quiet setting. However there are tests available now to diagnose your ability to hear in noisy settings.
Turning up the volume
One common place of tension for families and friends around hearing loss centers around the television. When you all decide to gather around the TV for a movie or to watch a game, those with hearing loss may require a higher volume than someone with healthy hearing. In fact the sound level you need to hear, for someone with healthy hearing can be grating. If you are having conflicts around the volume of the TV or radio in your family or friend group this is a great time to have your hearing tested.
Trouble over the Phone
It is wonderful to be able to keep up with the people you love even if they are not close by. A phone call can help you feel connected. In a work setting being able to hear the details of phone calls can be extremely important. As hearing loss progresses it can be very challenging to hear clearly over the telephone. Your performance at work can suffer as you misunderstand or have to ask people to repeat themselves. Many hearing aids have options which allow you to stream telephone conversations directly into your hearing aids, so you can hear clearly.
Tinnitus often is interpreted as a ringing in the ears. It is any extraneous sound in the ear that seems to have no external source. Because tinnitus and hearing loss are both caused by damage to the cilia in the inner ear causing them to misfire static sound to the brain, tinnitus is often a sign of hearing loss. If you are dealing with tinnitus it can become incredibly stressful, causing anxiety, sleeplessness and a short temper. There are features on many hearing aids, which can mask or cancel the sounds of tinnitus helping to make them less present.
Have your hearing tested today!
Hearing loss affects 1 in 3 people over 65 and half of those over 70. However, hearing loss can affect people of all ages. No matter your age make sure you have your hearing tested regularly and catch hearing loss before it has a chance to stop you from enjoying the life you love.