Most people assume that recognizing hearing loss or other hearing challenges is pretty straightforward. In reality, because hearing loss comes on at such a slow pace, it is often difficult to pick up on it in its early stages.
Similar to eyesight and dental issues, hearing loss continues to worsen when it is left untreated, and it can lead to other negative mental and physical health conditions. In my efforts to help individuals in New England to minimize the damage caused by hearing loss through early detection, I have put together a list of unexpected and common signs of hearing loss.
“Could You Repeat that, Please?”
It seems pretty obvious that a person who is not hearing well would ask others to repeat themselves or speak up. Though some people are prone to mumble or stumble over words when they are speaking, the majority of people you talk to should be easy to understand.
If you notice that you or a loved one is asking others to repeat themselves or to speak louder with greater frequency, it could be an early warning sign of hearing loss.
The Presence of a Ringing or Buzzing Sound
Someone who experiences ongoing ringing, buzzing, hissing or similar sounds in their ears is presenting hearing-related symptoms known as tinnitus. Though not always related to hearing loss, it is among the symptoms associated with early-stage hearing loss.
Tinnitus often produces stress, fatigue, depression or anxiety, and additional adverse conditions caused by the constant ringing from which there is no escape. The condition is often the result of an extreme noise-exposure event or ongoing exposure to loud noise, which has caused permanent hearing damage.
Avoiding Social Gathering and Events
Trying to enjoy a conversation when there is a lot of background noise is difficult for most of us, but when the frustration and fatigue from straining to keep up with a conversation becomes overwhelming, those with hearing loss begin to bow out of attending family gatherings, social events or a night out.
If you recognize that you or a loved one who is generally eager to enjoy social gatherings and events frequently withdraws from the crowd to be alone or converse with just a few individuals, it could be an early warning sign of hearing loss.
“I Don’t Like Talking on the Phone.”
If you or a loved one says this often or avoids phone conversations, it can be an indicator of early-stage hearing loss. Conversations on the phone require you to use only your ears to follow conversation with another person while it is less of a struggle when speaking face-to-face, which provides you with a number of non-verbal cues used for understanding.
When you or a loved one turns up the volume on your phone to hear better or goes out of their way to avoid conversations over the phone, it could be a warning sign of hearing loss.
Some Voices Are Difficult to Hear
One of the things that happen when you begin to develop hearing loss is the inability to pick up sounds at higher frequencies or pitches. Consequently, someone experiencing hearing loss will struggle to understand what women and children are saying because it becomes difficult to distinguish between various words that go entirely unheard, making it a struggle to follow a conversation.
Even when watching television, you might notice that you have to turn up the volume when certain characters speak because the pitch of their voice goes unheard due to early-stage hearing loss.
Identify Your Hearing Loss Early at AVI New England
The early identification of hearing loss is your best insurance against doing additional damage to your hearing, your health, and your quality of life. That’s why the AVI New England team recommend a hearing assessment if you experience any of these early signs.
Even if you do not have detectable hearing loss, your hearing test will establish a baseline against which future changes can be compared. Contact us for more information about the early signs of hearing loss or to scheduling a hearing assessment.