Hearing loss is commonly referred to as an invisible health condition and early signs of hearing loss are often overlooked. Unlike other medical conditions, you can’t physically see the signs of hearing loss. Because the changes often occur gradually, it is quite common for individuals with hearing loss to find ways to cope and grow accustomed to reduced hearing acuity.
Family and friends are often the first to notice. In an article on CNN.com, audiologist Virginia Ramachandran explained, “People don’t always perceive that they need hearing aids, because hearing loss comes on gradually. Usually they are the last person to know. “
Recognizing Hearing Loss
The following questions can help identify common warning signs of hearing loss:
- Do you have difficulty following conversations?
- Do you ask others to repeat themselves?
- Do you complain that people mumble or speak too fast?
- It is difficult for you to hear and understand women and children?
- Do you have ringing in your ears?
- Do you have a favorite ear?
- Do you have trouble hearing on the telephone?
- Do you find yourself turning up the volume of your television?
- Do others complain that you keep the volume of your television too loud?
- Do you avoid noisy places?
- Do you ever feel embarrassed about misunderstanding what others say to you?
- Do you feel tired after listening in challenging environments?
Understanding Hearing Loss
Individuals with hearing loss have difficulty following conversations and understanding the voices of women and children. Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast. Hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus. A buildup of earwax, medication, exposure to loud sounds and hearing loss can all cause ringing in the ears, or tinnitus. The ringing might be constant or occasional, but it is often the first sign of hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss may prefer one ear, reporting that they have a “good ear.” They may ask others to stand close to the better ear or speak directly into that ear. Those with hearing loss may even avoid challenging listening situations including conversations over the phone and noisy environments.
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions listed here, schedule a complete hearing evaluation with a hearing professional in your area. Effective treatments are available for hearing loss! The most common way to address hearing loss is with hearing aids, but occasionally medication or surgery is needed. A hearing consultation with a professional is the best way to find out if you have hearing loss and what options are available if you do.
Take the next step to restore your hearing. Early detection has been proven to create better treatment outcomes.