What are the First Signs of Hearing Loss?

by | 04/20/2021 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Hearing loss is way more common than people think. One in 8 Americans ages 12+ have a hearing loss in both ears. That’s 13% of the population.

Keep going up in age and you’ll find that 50% of those ages 75+ have a disabling hearing loss. Thankfully, there are multiple treatment options to fix this today.

People’s hearing can become worse for many reasons, whether it is because of a health condition, such as diabetes, or because of working for five years or more in a loud work environment.

Young people especially are at risk of damaging their hearing, with 1 in 5 regularly listening to music that’s too loud through earphones or at movies and events. Hearing health is so important, as are regular hearing checkups.

Why Do So Many People Live With an Untreated Hearing Loss?

I believe that many people ignore the signs of hearing loss because it doesn’t hurt nor can it be seen. They learn to adapt and figure out ways to communicate, figuring it’s not doing them any harm to avoid getting their hearing checked. Nothing could be further from the truth!

One of my favorite stories is about when my husband got his first hearing aids. He was amazed the wind made a sound, and he found people responding to him much better because now he knew when they were speaking to him.

Some People Wait Several Years Before Addressing A Hearing Loss?

Even though people know that they have some hearing loss, they often wait to do something about it. We all like to think of ourselves as young and able, and when we’re told our hearing isn’t as good as we thought it was, we see it as a weakness we often deny rather than accept the help offered.

Wearing hearing aids has been associated with the older population for so long that it is taking time for people to change their way of thinking. Technology is certainly helping! Also, the person with the hearing loss may not be as aware of it as those around them.

We often hear a different story from the family members about how bad the hearing is compared to what a person believes.

What Are the Most Common Initial Signs of A Hearing Loss?

The most common signs of hearing loss I see are:

  • Difficulty hearing on the phone/using speakerphone
  • Asking for repetition
  • Turning the TV up louder than what others are comfortable with
  • Trouble hearing people speaking when there’s background noise such as at church, in meetings, or dining out
  • Difficulty understanding small children or women’s voices
  • Speaking in a loud voice
  • Turning the better ear toward the person speaking
  • Avoiding social activities one used to enjoy and isolating oneself from friends and family
  • Answering questions incorrectly because of not hearing the question clearly

Does Your Loved One Have a Hearing Loss?

It can be difficult living with someone who has a hearing loss, especially when the other person is unaware of their challenges. Some common signs of hearing loss in a loved one are:

  • They have no idea what you just said. You have to ask them if they heard you.
  • They complain they can’t hear you because you walked away.
  • They speak loudly when they are trying to whisper.
  • They can’t hear you if you whisper.
  • They go into another room when the family is together.
  • They do not contribute to group conversations and seem lost when the subject of conversation changes.
  • They turn up the TV way too loud or have to use closed captioning to watch it.
  • They avoid talking on the phone.
  • They cup their hand around their ear to hear better.

What Should Somebody Do If They’re Concerned About Their Hearing?

If someone has concerns about their hearing, they should have a hearing test. It is quick and painless, and our audiologists can quickly establish your level of hearing, diagnose the cause, and get you to a richer life of understanding all your conversations with family and friends again and perform better at work.

Why Are Regular Hearing Assessments So Important?

Establishing a baseline test is important for future comparison. With all the research on the correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline, it is more important than ever to treat hearing loss sooner rather than later.

We care for all ages and hope you become part of our family or “patients for life” because of our focus on long-term audiological care, which we feel is the best way to look after your hearing health.

No matter how small your question or concern about your hearing health, call us! There’s no obligation to come see us, although we hope you will visit and get the first of your yearly hearing assessments with us. Email or call us today.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Inas Al Rubaye

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Inas graduated from Baghdad Medical College in 2008. She was an intern in audiology and speech therapy for 2 years. Inas received her master’s in audiology in 2013. She worked as an audiologist until she moved to the United States in 2016. In the United States, she received her certification as a hearing conservationist (COHC), and then became licensed as an audiologist assistant in 2017. She worked in Houston, TX as an audiology assistant, and then moved to Midland, TX where she volunteered at the emergency room at Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH). Inas is currently in the process of becoming a licensed hearing instrument specialist.

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