Hearing loss is the third most prevalent condition in the US, after heart diseases and diabetes. You would think that something as common as hearing loss would be easy to detect, but the truth is, it isn’t. People wait an average of 7 years before they do something about their compromised hearing, and that’s only when it gets unbearable.
A good portion of those years are spent in denial, and it’s easy to see why:
- Hearing loss is gradual. It develops over a number of years and can be so subtle that it can’t be noticed until pointed out by a close family member
- Hearing loss develops unevenly. Often, the damage is done to the higher frequencies first. That’s why those with hearing loss often find it hard to understand those with voices in the higher registers, such as women and children.
- The body can adapt to hearing loss surprisingly well. Previously, the brain was believed to be able to adapt only in infancy. But now researchers have established that the adult brain is also capable of adapting to changes and new needs. That includes changes as a result of hearing loss. But this hearing compensation doesn’t mean the loss of hearing goes away. In fact, untreated hearing loss can still lead to a wide range of social, physical and mental issues.
That’s why it is important to remain vigilant when it comes to hearing loss. If you have ever thought the following words to yourself, it might be worth getting your hearing tested by a professional.
1. The TV isn’t loud enough
People around you may notice you’ve raised the volume of television too loud or you have an inclination to shout. You may not think the same way because your ears are compensating for your hearing loss but if a loved one makes a comment, it may be time to see a professional.
2. My ears are ringing
Tinnitus yields a constant ringing. Tinnitus symptoms may take many different forms, and the sound may be either constant or sporadic. In almost all cases, what stands true is that the sound is subjective, that is, you can only hear the noise. Because the main cause of tinnitus is chronic exposure to loud sounds, hearing loss is often confirmed in tandem with this condition, as loud sounds also damage hearing abilities.
3. It’s too loud in this café to talk
One of the first signs you’re struggling with hearing loss is when you have difficulty following a conversation in a noisy place. If you often have trouble distinguishing between who in a noisy room is speaking to you, you might be in the initial stages of hearing loss.
4. I can hear people, but I can’t understand them
Hearing loss plays havoc with speech recognition: your ability to recognize speech and predict speech patterns; and your ability to understand speech at particular frequencies.
In addition, hearing loss may impact your life to identify sound accurately, making it difficult to locate the direction from which a person is speaking to you.
5. It’s too much effort to see other people
If you suffer from hearing loss, it’s not uncommon to encounter shame in conversations due to misinterpretations, or a reluctance to meet new people. This can even grow into anxiety over time whenever you leave the house to go to a social event.
If this cycle is repeated frequently enough, you might even retreat from getting into social situations that you once loved due to your hearing problems, thereby expanding the distance between you and your loved ones due to communication difficulties.
This explains why researchers have found a potential connection between untreated hearing loss and dementia, depression, and a decreased quality of life. To guarantee ideal emotional and physical health, it is necessary to take a hearing test as soon as there are signs of hearing loss.
Aspire Audiology and Hearing
If you think you – or someone you care about – is experiencing hearing loss, the first step is to arrange a hearing test and consultation with a hearing professional. Contact us today to start the journey towards healthier hearing.