Do you suspect that you may have hearing loss? Identifying the early warning signs of hearing loss can be more challenging than you might think. Hearing loss is a gradual process, and you brain makes small adjustments every day to help you hear the sounds around you. You don’t realize what sounds you’re missing, and even though you haven’t heard birds chirping in months, you don’t often think about the sounds you can’t hear. Catching your hearing loss early is the key to great health and a good quality of life, so take the time to learn how to identify the signs of hearing loss.
You’re Not Alone
Did you know that roughly 40 million Americans have hearing loss? Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions that affects seniors, and half of all adults over the age of 65 have some hearing loss. Sadly, it usually takes 5 to 7 years for someone with hearing loss to realize their hearing isn’t as sharp as it once was, and seek treatment.
Listen to Your Loved Ones
It’s been shown that the person with hearing loss isn’t usually the first one to notice their change in hearing. The people closest to you have a better sense of your hearing abilities than you do! If your loved ones have been complaining that you can’t hear them when they’re speaking, or that you’ve been asking them to repeat themselves more often than before, take it very seriously. Your loved ones want what’s best for you, so listen when they tell you that your hearing isn’t as strong as it used to be.
Reaching for the Volume
One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is reaching for the volume control. If you have hearing loss, you will try to compensate by turning up the volume on the TV, radio, car stereo, or phone speaker. Does your family complain that you’ve been turning up the volume far too loud on the TV, and that it hurts their ears? This is a sign of hearing loss. If you have a hard time talking on the phone, and the volume is already all the way up, you likely have hearing loss, and difficulty hearing on the phone is a sure sign that something’s not right with your ears.
Struggling to Follow Conversations
Another sign of hearing loss is struggling to follow conversations, especially in noisy or crowded places. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the volume of the things you hear, but the clarity as well. Even if you feel like you can hear every word, hearing loss makes it hard to understand consonant sounds, and this is why conversations are so hard to follow. You might think that the people you’re talking to are mumbling, need to speak up, or should speak slower. However, if you’re struggling to have a conversation with every person that you know, chances are the problem is with your ears, not with your friends.
If you’ve been asking your friends to repeat themselves, or have been mishearing what’s been said, you have hearing loss, and need to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Avoiding Social Events
Have you stopped accepting invitations from your friends? Are you withdrawing from your social life? Another sign of hearing loss is social isolation, and avoiding social events. You struggle to hear what people are saying in group conversations, or in places with a lot of background noise, and you feel embarrassed when you mishear a question or answer inappropriately. You might not think it’s a big deal at first, but soon this can lead to isolation, anxiety, and even depression, as well as worse overall health, and a reduced quality of life.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you’ve identified the signs of hearing loss, don’t waste another day, but treat your hearing loss as soon as possible! The longer you live with untreated hearing loss the worse your hearing will become, and the harder it will be to adjust to your new devices. Hearing aids give you back your ability to hear, but they can’t restore your hearing, so don’t wait for your hearing loss to get worse. Search for a hearing healthcare provider in our network and schedule a hearing test and consultation today!