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How to Recognize Hearing Problems

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hand and ear

According to some studies, as many as 20% of all Americans report some level of hearing loss. However, hearing loss doesn’t always manifest itself suddenly. Sometimes it’s a very gradual, slow process that can escape your notice for months or even years.

Diagnosing and treating hearing loss early is essential to stop it from progressing, in many cases. As such, it’s important to be able to recognize when you’re experiencing hearing problems. When you’re aware of it, then you can work with your audiologist to understand it and treat it, if necessary.

Sounds are muffled, distorted or quieter

If you can actually notice that certain noises don’t sound like they used to, or that they sound a little wrong, muffled, or unclear, then that is enough reason to make an appointment with your audiologist. This might only affect certain noises, such as children’s noises or birdsong, as hearing loss often affects how we hear different frequencies or types of noise, rather than making everything sound quieter in general.

You have problems with miscommunication

Even mild hearing loss can begin to cause problems in how we interpret and hear speech. Some consonants, such as f, s and th sounds can become harder to hear, so words like deaf and death become much easier to mistake for one another. High-pitched speech may also be harder to make out. If you find yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves, or frequently misunderstand when people are talking to you, it could be a sign of hearing problems.

Background noise makes it much harder to hear

Hearing issues, especially trying to listen to someone talking to you can compound if you’re in and noisier or more social environment. For instance, hearing speech effectively can be difficult with the low-pitched background noise of a restaurant. Everyone has some degree of trouble listening in a crowded environment, but if you seem to be having more trouble than others, you should make an appointment with your audiologist.

People have raised complaints about the volume of your TV and speakers

As hearing loss is gradual, so too can the level of adjustment we need to make on our TV and speakers gradually raise over time. It can be difficult to notice this yourself unless you pay regular attention to what your preferred number is on digital volume displays. However, if others frequently tell you that you have turned up the volume too high and you weren’t aware that it was high, you might be experiencing one of the early signs of hearing loss.

You’re experiencing stress, fatigue or isolation

Not all the symptoms of hearing loss are as easily linked to your ears. Some side-effects of hearing loss can manifest in unexpected ways. If you find yourself straining to listen to others and to pay attention to their mouths while they’re talking, it can lead to genuine fatigue and stress that can impact how enjoyable you find certain social or work situations.

As such, people who have hearing problems and suffer fatigue, as a result, can experience problems in family, friend, and work relationships. In many cases, they start to become isolated as they avoid these social interactions and may not even realize that this is what they’re doing. If any of the other symptoms sound familiar, and you also experience stress, fatigue or isolation that you can’t explain.

You are exposed to these risk factors

There are also several risk factors worth paying attention to, as each of them can contribute to hearing loss. They are as follows:

  • You’re over the age of 65
  • You work in environments or have hobbies that frequently expose you to loud noises
  • You have a family history of hearing health problems including hearing loss
  • You’re on antibiotics, gentamicin, Viagra, pain relievers or chemotherapy medication

If you experience any of these, then it’s worth arranging a routine hearing test with your audiologist just to be safe. Even if you haven’t experienced any of the signs of hearing problems mentioned above, you should be proactive about protecting your hearing health, and your audiologist will have advice on how you can do just that.

How your audiologist can help

If you’re noticing the signs of hearing problems, your audiologist can help you get to the bottom of it. Through a thorough exam and hearing test, they can help diagnose hearing loss, some of the potential causes and help find a treatment that can help improve your quality of life again. To learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sonus at 703-823-3336.