Hearing loss is far more common than most people realize. In fact, over the past year of wearing face masks, there has been a very distinct uptick in people realizing that they are having difficulty hearing and understanding speech.
Even those who have very typical hearing have realized how difficult communication can be when visual cues are completely eliminated.
One in eight people in the United States ages 12 years or older has a hearing loss in both ears. About 2 percent of adults ages 45 to 54 have a disabling hearing loss. To prevent these numbers from climbing, it’s important to know what the early signs of hearing loss look like.
Common First Signs of Hearing Loss
Most people will not be aware of their actions, as hearing loss presents itself gradually. Initially, a person may realize that when they are in a noisy restaurant, or when the TV is on in their home, they have difficulty understanding what another person is saying.
Further, they may try to increase the volume of the television to understand dialogue, only to realize that higher volumes lead to distortion.
A person may also begin to notice that young people, such as their grandchildren, become extremely difficult to understand. Others may realize that they are hearing a noise in their ears, such as a ringing sound, known as tinnitus.
The aging process that naturally occurs can affect our judgment and some of our loved ones may not be able to identify these early signs. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with a hearing loss, look for these signs:
Confusion — Your loved one may have trouble understanding the question and thus their answers may seem confusing and unrelated.
Isolation — If there is nothing to hear, then they don’t notice any hearing loss. Withdrawing from social settings is a very common sign of hearing loss.
Blaming Others — Deflecting and accusing others of mumbling demonstrates a loss of hearing.
What Happens If Left Untreated?
Unfortunately, hearing loss can become exponentially worse, eventually resulting in a total loss of hearing, which requires sign language to communicate.
Patients can develop more serious problems along the way as well and these aren’t just limited to the ears. Cognitive issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, can arise.
Any time a person is concerned about their hearing, it is important to schedule a hearing test. At Audicles Hearing Services, our friends and family referral program allows anyone to be referred by a client for a complimentary hearing evaluation and consultation.
The appointment is quick and painless, and a person can learn about their hearing sensitivity on the spot.
By having regular checkups as you would with your physician, optometrist, and dentist, you provide us with a benchmark to which we can measure your hearing status. Hearing can decline quickly, so it’s important to have all the information to make the right choices.
Lastly, if a person’s hearing changes significantly, it may be indicative of other health problems that need to be addressed, and appropriate referrals and recommendations may be made.