If you’ve ever been overweight, you know how easily the extra pounds can sneak up on you. A few hundred extra calories a day and the next thing you know, you’ve packed on a few more pounds than you’d like. Hearing loss can happen in a similar manner. It happens gradually as we age, so small changes over time may not be obvious. If you know the signs to look for, however, you may be able to help your loved one recognize hearing loss and help guide them toward a hearing loss diagnosis and necessary treatment.
10 Telltale Signs of Hearing Loss
Is your loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms? If so, encourage them to get a hearing test, or even better, a thorough hearing evaluation. Receiving a hearing loss diagnosis is the first step toward effective treatment – the earlier treatment is started, the better.
- Phone calls are difficult. Sometimes, people don’t recognize they’re having trouble hearing phone conversations because the volume is turned up. If your loved one begins to resist making phone calls or is constantly raising the volume, it’s probably time to get their hearing checked.
- They have difficulty following conversations. This could be one-on-one or conversations in groups. If your loved one has to see the person with whom they’re speaking in order to understand what’s being said, or they have difficulty following conversations with multiple people talking simultaneously, they may be losing their hearing.
- The TV is too loud. Although it doesn’t always improve the quality of sound, people with hearing loss often turn up the volume on TVs and radios to the point where it’s uncomfortable to others in the room who don’t have hearing problems.
- Conversations become exhausting. Although it can be challenging for all of us at times, individuals with hearing loss find it even more difficult to follow conversations, especially when there is more than one person talking. Their brain is working overtime to try to hear and process what is being said. This can be very fatiguing.
- Noisy environments are troublesome. Again, hearing well in a noisy environment can be a challenge even for those with the best of hearing, but it’s especially difficult for those with hearing loss. Excess background noise jumbles with conversations, making it hard to discern one from the other, and creating a confusing environment.
- Asking others to repeat themselves. The most common question here is, “what did you say?” Sure, there truly are times when anyone can ask this question, especially if they’re distracted and weren’t paying attention to the speaker. If it becomes a regular occurrence, however, hearing loss may be the cause.
- Accusing others of mumbling. Individuals with hearing loss often place the blame on everyone else when they can’t hear what was said. Instead of it being the result of their own hearing problem, they think it’s because someone else wasn’t speaking clearly.
- Misunderstanding conversations. This often happens, not because they can’t understand the words, but because they don’t correctly hear the words that are said. Difficulty understanding communication can make things very challenging in a relationship, which is why it’s important to recognize hearing loss and not let it go untreated.
- Difficulty hearing women and children. Often, the ability to hear higher frequency sounds is one of the first things that declines with age-related hearing loss. This makes it more difficult to hear people with higher-pitched voices.
- It’s difficult to get their attention. Have you ever struggled to get your loved one to pay attention to you? It’s probably not because they’re ignoring you, but rather because they simply didn’t hear your voice.
Early Hearing Loss Diagnosis and Treatment is Important
If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s time to talk to your loved one about hearing loss. Pick a quiet place with few distractions and calmly discuss what you’ve noticed.
It may be that they haven’t recognized their own problem. Or, they simply haven’t wanted to deal with it. Either way, scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional is a great way to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Don’t let hearing loss get in the way of your relationship. Instead, work together with an audiologist to formulate a comprehensive hearing treatment plan that works for everyone. It’s time to hear well and live well!