Hearing loss is often progressive, so the symptoms may be difficult to notice until the hearing loss starts to have a true impact on ability to communicate. The most common reported symptoms is difficulty hearing or understanding womens or children's voices, or the perception that people are mumbling. This is because a typical age-related hearing loss will start with a loss in the mid-to-higher frequencies (pitches) first. Other symptoms include difficulty hearing or understanding conversation in the presence of background noise, as well as difficulty heairng or understanding conversation over the phone. Additonally, one might have difficulty understanding speech coming from the television or radio. Family members might report that the TV or radio volume are "too loud." Others might experience ringing in the ears (a.k.a tinnitus), feeling as though the ears are "clogged" or sound is muffled, and difficulty hearing at a distance. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, you might also have difficulty hearing environmental sounds such as the turn signal in your car, the refrigerator humming, microwave beeping, alarm clock buzzing, or clock ticking. It's always recommended that if you suspect you are having difficulty hearing, to schedule a test to establish a baseline so you can determine heairng levels and be able to monitor for changes in the future.
Most hearing impairments occur gradually over a long period of time, so many people dont realize the extent of their problems. Normal aging, illness or injury can rob a person of the ability to hear well.The results can impair the quailty of peoples lives, ranging from being a minor nuisance of not being able to fully participate in conversations, to other areas as serious as not being aware of a potenially dangerous situation. Having the volumne turned up on the TV is also another sign plus asking others to repeat themselves is a clear indication that something is going on. When you notice these signs, it is important to make an appointment to get your hearing evaluated as the provider can determine your hearing assessment.
One of the first signs of hearing loss are comments and concerns from family members about hearing or the loudness of the television. The person with the hearing loss may perceive that others are mumbling. Lastly the person with the hearings loss realizes that they are asking for repetition frequently.
Seeing an audiologist is the first step to find out if there is a hearing loss, what kind of hearing loss and what degree of hearing loss is present. The audiologist will guide the process to remediation whether it be referral to a physician for medical management or considering the use of hearing aids
Having a baseline hearing test by age 50 is a great starting point even if you think your hearing is fine
If you find yourself asking others to repeat themselves, you find yourself trying to read peoples lips, or you think people are mumbling. These things are all indicators that you should at least schedule a hearing test.
How You Know It Is Time to Get Your Hearing Checked
Most often the symptoms of a hearing loss are hard for a person to notice for themselves at first. Friends and family will notice it first because they are having to repeat whole sentences or conversations and they get frustrated. The person who has the hearing loss usually just says, "What?" or "Huh?" so they aren't typically bothered when the loss in not too great. Also, family and friends will notice the TV is louder than usual. So if you have had to have people repeat things to you then it is time to go have a hearing test. Be sure to see an audiologist to make sure it isn't a medical condition that needs treatment.
There are many indications of hearing loss that are typically ignored or just not accepted by the person with the loss. Many times it's the family that brings attention to the issue. Although you may hear the sounds of someone talking, it's when you are having trouble understanding what was said that causes concern. Requiring TV volume to be louder than is comfortable for others or difficulty hearing speech in noisy situations is usually an indication for action. There truly are people that mumble and cause even normal hearing folks to not understand. However, if it seems that several people mumble and you are constantly asking them to repeat what they said ... probably a hearing test is in order. An hour spent on early diagnosis and treatment can prevent years of frustration and embarrassment going forward.
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