How can you tell if you or someone near you has a hearing loss?
Turning up the television or radio is a very common sign of a hearing loss. The appropriate volume may seem too loud to others.
Focusing on one speaker in a crowded or noisy environment is often especially difficult for a person with a hearing loss.
In a car, the engine, road or wind noise can make it hard to hear a conversation, the radio or important traffic sounds.
People with a hearing loss frequently feel that others mumble or need to repeat what they’ve said. Often, a person will hear, but not understand, what’s being said.
Social occasions are often difficult for a person with hearing loss. Background noise, such as music or group conversations, can become overwhelming, making it impossible to participate in a conversation.
It’s easy to forget how much we rely on our hearing every day. Sirens, automobile horns, and other people are only a few of the things that we need to be able to hear clearly.
In church, theaters, and auditoriums, it can be very difficult to hear a speaker’s voice. Many facilities have assistive listening devices available for those with hearing loss.
Cupping your hand behind your ear can help a little, but it’s no substitute for a properly fitted hearing instrument. And remember – a hearing loss is more noticeable than a hearing aid!
If this sounds like you or someone you know, remember that help is available. It’s time to enjoy life again. We offer many products to assist your hearing. Contact a hearing healthcare professional to discuss options that best suits your specific needs.
The Signs & Symptoms of Hearing Loss
- Hearing but not understanding
- Turning up the volume on the TV
- Must lip read to understand speech
- Cannot hear environmental sounds such as game calls, traps releasing, crickets, etc.
- Strained personal relationships, denial
- Social withdrawal
- Fatigue and stress
Three Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Permanent hearing loss occurs when inner ear nerves become damaged and do not properly transmit their signals to the brain. Those who suffer from this condition may complain that people seem to mumble or that they hear, but do not understand, what is being said. The aging process is a very common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. As we get older, the inner ear nerves and sensory cells gradually die. The condition is not often medically or surgically treatable. In most cases, the symptoms can be significantly minimized with hearing aids.
In addition to aging, sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by:
- Excessive noise exposure
- Viral infections, such as measles or mumps
- Ototoxic drugs, which are medications that damage hearing
- High fever
- Meniere’s disease
- Acoustic tumors
Conductive Hearing Loss
These disorders can be either temporary or permanent. They are caused by problems in either the outer or middle ear, which prevent sound from reaching the inner ear. People who experience this condition may find that voices and sounds appear faint. Many forms of conductive hearing loss can be helped medically or surgically. Some common causes of this condition include:
- Infection of the ear canal or middle ear
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
- Wax build-up
- Unusual growths or tumors in the ear
- Otosclerosis, a condition in which there is an abnormal growth of bone of the middle ear. This bone prevents structures within the ear from working properly and causes hearing loss. For some people with otosclerosis, the hearing loss may become severe.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Some people have a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Hearing loss is often gradual and not immediately noticed by the person affected. Sometimes friends or family will notice a person’s hearing problems before the person with the hearing loss recognizes it. For instance, family members may complain that the person with hearing loss listens to the television or radio too loud and often ask them to repeat what they’ve just said. Or, that the person with hearing loss doesn’t answer the telephone or doorbell because they didn’t hear it ringing.
Although each person may experience symptoms of hearing loss differently, some of the most common symptoms may include:
- Inability to hear people clearly and fully. People may seem to mumble and those experiencing hearing loss may not hear all parts of a conversation. For instance, someone with hearing loss may miss the essence of a story or punch line of a joke that someone just told.
- Frequent requests for repetition or clarification.
- Tendency to need to stare at people when they are talking in order to make it easier to understand what they are saying.
- Fatigue at the end of the day from straining to hear.
- Avoidance of social situations because of difficulty following conversations in noisy environments.
- Tendency to bluff when not hearing someone because of the fear of asking them to repeat themselves.