What Are the First Signs of Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is far more common than people realize. Age is certainly a factor: about 8.5% of people ages 55-64 and 25% of those ages 65 to 74 have disabling hearing loss, but certain health conditions and working for years in loud environments can cause hearing loss at any age.
In fact, one in every 8 people in the US, about 30 million, over the age of 12 has a hearing loss in both ears.
It’s so surprising that people go to doctors once a year for a health checkup, but they don’t get their hearing checked by a hearing care professional when the long-term effects of disabling hearing loss can include memory loss, withdrawal from social life, depression, and falls. The sooner hearing loss is treated, the better one’s chances are of avoiding all this.
Why Do So Many People Have An Undiagnosed Hearing Loss?
Most people have a hearing loss for 7 to 10 years before realizing they have a significant enough problem to have their hearing tested. By then, a certain amount of permanent damage has occurred in the hearing system. Hearing screenings and early intervention are so important.
Much of the reason as to why people won’t get their hearing checked has to do with perceptions and stigmas, especially about hearing aids. People say:
“Hearing aids will make me look old.”
“They just make everything louder.”
“They can’t help me hear better in noisy environments.”
Much of this was true with older hearing aids that were large and bulky and had a number of technological limitations, but today’s hearing aids are marvels of miniaturized technology.
They are literally a mini supercomputer in your ear. They communicate with each other, can tell exactly what sounds are in the environment, and can make changes to the hearing devices to maximize your hearing in milliseconds.
Anyone who has a hearing loss owes it to themselves to wear a set of the hearing aids for a no-cost, one-week trial to see the difference they can make.
What Are the Most Common Signs of Hearing Loss?
For those with an untreated hearing loss, speech sounds muffled and unclear, especially when there is a lot of noise in the background.
It’s hard to hear children’s higher-pitched speech or the clear sounds of certain consonants in words. Phone conversations are difficult to follow. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears and headaches can be signs of early hearing loss.
You Might Recognize These Signs of Hearing Loss in Your Loved One
- They complain that the TV is too quiet, or perhaps you notice them drifting out of conversations because of their inability to follow the conversation.
- They complain that you or “other” people do not speak clearly, or they mumble.
- They keep asking you to repeat what you’re saying and sound like they are shouting when they talk.
What Should I Do If I Am Concerned About My Hearing?
If you are concerned about your hearing or think your loved one might have a hearing loss, the best thing you can do is have a hearing test conducted by one of our hearing care professionals. And you don’t even need to come to the office if you are concerned about leaving your home. We can come to you to test your hearing!
We always have hearing care professionals out and about, covering Charlottesville, Front Royal Harrisonburg, Richmond, Lynchburg, Staunton, Winchester, and everything in between.
Tell us your location and we’ll let you know how soon we can set up a hearing test in the comfort of your home or office. Contact us to set up your hearing test.
Why Are Regular Tests So Important?
The AMA now recommends annual hearing exams after the age of 50. Like any disease, early detection and intervention leads to the best possible long-term outcome, and once we can establish your hearing ability, we have a baseline to go on if your hearing ever seems to change.
If we can detect any hearing issue early on with our comprehensive hearing assessment, we can avoid future damage to your brain by treating the condition promptly.
You have no idea how happy this makes us because we love to see our patients have a full life with healthy hearing. Contact us today so we can answer any questions you might have.