The signs and symptoms of hearing loss may be subtle over the years. By being able to identify them within yourself and loved ones, you can often prevent further hearing loss and regain some of what you have already lost. Hearing protection is critical, so you have to review the signs and symptoms regularly.
Reaching for the Volume Control
One of the first signs that you may be experiencing hearing loss is your need to turn up the volume. This can include the volume on the TV or the volume on your car stereo. Even though you may not realize how high the volume is up, those around you may find it to be uncomfortably loud.
Hearing Higher Tones
Did you know that women and children generally speak in higher tones? If you find you have difficulty hearing women, children, or consonant sounds; it may be that you are experiencing some level of hearing loss. High-frequency sounds will become harder and harder to understand, and you may miss a significant amount of what is being spoken around you.
Difficulty in Noisy Environments
You may find it challenging to follow a conversation when there is a significant amount of background noise. Whether multiple conversations are going on around you, or the background music is really loud; you’ll find that it’s harder to follow a conversation when you are experiencing hearing loss.
Many who are 60 and above will experience gradual hearing loss, which is often caused by the death of hair cells within the inner ear. As you lose these cells, they don’t regenerate. When you struggle with hearing in restaurants and other loud places, it’s one of the easier-to-notice signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss.
This works in two ways. The first is that you might be saying, “Excuse me?” with higher frequency because you can’t hear what people said. If you’re asking people to repeat themselves regularly, the problem could be with your hearing and not them.
Similarly, if other people are asking you, “Excuse me?” regularly, it may be that you’re not talking loud enough (or way too loud). As hearing loss progresses, you lose the ability to gauge how loud you are. People may be asking you to repeat yourself because you’re merely speaking too quietly.
If you find that you are experiencing headaches with higher frequency, it may have to do with you struggling to hear various things. When your hearing starts to go, your brain has to work harder to piece the sounds together. You may be straining to hear multiple sounds, whether you realize it or not. This can result in headaches occurring more frequently.
Not being able to follow conversations and being frequently misunderstood can be stressful. All of the stress can lead to you feeling irritable and tired by the end of the day. If you feel as though you are always tired by the end of the day, it may be a sign that you need hearing aids or some other form of hearing therapy.
Hearing aids can improve your mental health. Studies have shown that people with hearing loss who don’t use hearing aids are more likely to deal with fear, sadness, and anxiety. Much of this is as a result of reducing their social activities and becoming emotionally unstable.
Swapping Ears on the Phone
You may find yourself swapping ears when you’re on the phone to try to hear the conversation better. Going from your right ear to your left ear and back to your right ear is likely not going to solve the problem. It may be a sign that you are experiencing some level of hearing loss – and this is when it’s essential to focus on hearing protection.
You may also find that people close to you are telling you that you exhibit one or more of these signs without you being aware of it. Often, we’re the last ones to realize when something is wrong with us – it takes someone else to point it out.
You don’t want to let hearing loss take away the quality of your life. If you’re struggling with one or more of the signs that are listed above, we want to help. We help many patients to prevent further hearing loss as well as work on ways to improve hearing that has already been lost.
At Acadian Hearing, we focus on hearing care and protection and have been doing so throughout Louisiana since 1986. Let us help you at our hearing center by calling to schedule a hearing test today. Following the results of your exam, we can customize a plan to meet your individual needs so that you can enjoy life to the fullest by being able to hear more of what’s happening around you.
Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified Audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas Audiology License. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.