There are plenty of reasons we don’t all hear everything that’s going on around us. The world is a noisy place—stores and restaurants play background music, family members engage in multiple noisy activities at the same time, cellphones ring and ding constantly. There’s no wonder you have trouble hearing the one person or broadcast you are trying to focus on.
But how do you know when your hearing difficulty is not due to other noises? What are the signs that you really are suffering from hearing loss? Knowing the answer could change your life for the better.
When You Lose Your Hearing Gradually, You May Not Even Notice
The most common cause of hearing loss is the aging process. Known as presbycusis, hearing loss due to aging affects around 35 percent of people over the age of 65 and nearly half of people over the age of 75. Influenced by genetics, exposure to sound and illness throughout their lifetimes, and overall health, older people lose their hearing at different rates and to differing degrees, so there is no one-size-fits all diagnosis or treatment.
In general, those suffering from presbycusis lose their hearing gradually over a period of years and may not even be aware that their hearing has weakened. The key to hearing recovery, however, is beginning treatment as early as possible and, in order to do that, you need to be aware of the signs of hearing loss and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Key Signs That You May Be Losing Your Hearing
The first signs of hearing loss can be subtle and easily ignored, but when these things start to happen more frequently, it’s probably time to schedule a comprehensive hearing exam. Keep a look out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Muffled speech. It’s not you—it’s them! People just don’t speak clearly. If you find that many people sound to you like they’re mumbling, the problem may be with you.
- Trouble hearing in noisy environments. While hearing in a noisy restaurant is difficult for everyone, if you find that you are struggling more than most to filter out background noise and focus in on one voice or sound, you could be in the early stages of hearing loss.
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves. “Say what?” We’re all entitled to miss things occasionally, but when you realize you seem to be asking people to repeat themselves frequently, this could indicate weakened hearing.
- Difficulty hearing the TV. When you’re home alone, you might not even notice that your volume is blaring. However, when you watch with other people and find that you can’t hear what others can, the problem is probably not the TV.
- Trouble hearing on the telephone. Fortunately, today’s smartphones are equipped with volume controls so you can “hear me now?” However, if your volume is cranked up or you have stopped taking phone calls because of the challenge, it’s time to find a solution.
- Trouble following conversations. Whether in social settings or work meetings, it’s important to be able to focus in on individuals speaking in group situations. When this becomes frustratingly difficult, it may be time to do something about it.
- Becoming annoyed with others. You may not even realize that your frequent annoyance with others is due to hearing loss, but if you find that you are often annoyed, or that others are often annoyed with you, hearing loss could be to blame.
- Difficulty hearing women and children. Loss of hearing in the higher frequencies is very common so you may find that you only have trouble hearing higher-pitched sounds, like the voices of women and children. Even if this does not hinder you significantly, it is a good early warning sign that should not be ignored.
- Frequent misunderstandings. If you find yourself going to the wrong place, handing over the wrong amount of money to a clerk, or getting something in a restaurant you didn’t ask for, you could be missing important bits of communication without realizing it. It’s time to get a hearing test.
- Social withdrawal. Living a social life with hearing loss is not easy. All of the above factors may contribute to you just choosing to stay home alone and not deal with the challenges. Treatment for your hearing loss can return you to the world.
Seek Help From a Comprehensive Hearing Care Center
At Tru-Tone Hearing Aid Centers, we not only evaluate and treat hearing loss, we offer supportive follow-up care for the long term. Our hearing care professionals treat the patient, not the hearing loss, and will assist you throughout your journey to better hearing. Call us at (866) 466-5844 to schedule a free hearing test at one of our Philadelphia-area offices.