Hearing loss and tinnitus affect nearly 48 million Americans. Seniors, adults, teenagers, and even children can have hearing loss caused by an illness or injury, as a result of aging, or from exposure to dangerously loud sounds. Do you think you might have hearing loss? Watch for the signs of hearing loss and pay close attention to any changes in your hearing health.
Changes in Communication
If you have hearing loss, you’ve likely experienced a breakdown in communication, both in person and on the phone. You and your loved ones will get frustrated during conversations, and you may have more arguments than usual. Hearing loss affects high frequency sounds first, and you’ll struggle to make sense of consonant sounds in speech. Do you struggle to hear what’s being said? If you think the people around you are speaking too softly or are mumbling, you probably have a hearing loss. As your hearing changes, you ask your friends to repeat themselves, and often mishear what they’ve said. These changes in communication are a clear sign of hearing loss.
Struggling to Hear Your Grandchildren
Hearing loss affects high pitches first, and if you have young children or grandchildren, you may struggle to make sense of what they’ve said. Their high-pitched voices make it even more difficult to hear the words they’re saying, and they often speak very quickly. If you have hearing loss, you could be missing out on some of the most important relationships in your life.
Difficulty Hearing in Background Noise
Do you struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants or music venues? Hearing loss makes it far more difficult to get a complete picture of the sounds around you, and you’ll have a hard time separating important speech sounds from distracting background noise. The background sounds will intrude into what you’re trying to focus on, and you’ll have difficulty hearing in noisy environments.
Avoiding Social Activities
If you’ve been having difficulty hearing in group settings, you may start avoiding social activities. It becomes increasingly difficult to hear what someone across the table is saying, and you feel embarrassed when you ask your friends to repeat themselves, or when you completely mishear what’s been said. When several people are talking at once, such as during a family dinner, it can be even more difficult to enjoy social activities. Last year you’d eagerly meet friends for a drink at your favorite bar, but if you’ve been choosing to stay home rather than attend social activities, you may have hearing loss.
Turning Up the Volume
An early warning sign of hearing loss is turning up the volume on the TV, phone audio, or car stereo. Your family may complain that the volume is very high and might stop watching TV with you. Have you stopped going to the movie theatre because you can’t hear what’s being said on screen? Turning up the volume and avoiding the movie theatre are clear signs of hearing loss. If you’ve been dialing it up, you should test your hearing.
How many times have you slept through your alarm in the past month, and been late to work or missed an important meeting? Another sign of hearing loss is failing to hear alarms, such as your alarm clock, or the dinging of the microwave or stove alarm. You may also forget to turn off the signal lights when you’re driving because you’re unable to hear the indicator clicking. Missing alarms is a clear sign of hearing loss, and you should test your hearing.
Making Mistakes at Work
Hearing loss can have a profound impact on your job performance, and if you have a hearing loss you could be making mistakes at work. When you’re not able to clearly hear instructions, fully participate in group briefings, or catch all the important details, you could make some costly mistakes that will affect your position at work, or even jeopardize your job.
If any of these signs of hearing loss sound familiar, get your hearing checked right away! Ignoring the signs of hearing loss won’t change the facts, and the symptoms of hearing loss will continue to interfere with your life. Do the right thing for your ears and your relationships, and watch for these signs of hearing loss.