There are many different causes of hearing loss and even different types of hearing loss. The most common cause of hearing loss is presbycusis, hearing loss due to the aging process which most often occurs in the higher frequencies. Typically hearing loss due to age is also influenced by genetics, exposure to loud sounds through your lifetime and general overall health. So although hearing loss due to age occurs at different rates and affects each person differently throughout their life, one thing is common for all – it occurs gradually. In fact it occurs so gradual many persons don’t even notice they have hearing loss.
Thanks to the millions of tiny sensory hair cells within our inner ears, we have the ability to hear all different frequencies (pitch) from very low to very high. Because of this, hearing loss can vary frequency by frequency. With age, we lose our hearing first in the higher frequencies. So because some people can still technically “hear” they may not be able to fully understand or pick up on every little sound.
Speech is a complex signal, meaning it contains low, mid and high pitch sounds. So although you may have high frequency hearing loss and miss parts of words, your hearing may still be relatively ok at other frequencies which allows you to get by and compensate. However, there comes a time your hearing loss becomes more significant and noticeable – you no longer are able to compensate and fill in the blanks as easily.
So like any medical condition, the sooner you address the hearing loss the better treatment outcome you will have. And for those of you reading this that suspect you or a loved may have some hearing loss, read on.
The following are ten common signs that you may have hearing loss and hey, life is too short to miss out on all the sounds that surround you. So, is it time to make that call to a hearing professional?
1. You have trouble hearing people talking on the telephone. Most phones come with a volume control setting, so you might not have trouble hearing your friend, co-worker, client or friend because you’ve amped the telephone to the max.
Check the volume setting on the telephone receiver. If it’s at max volume, chances are you, or someone at home or in the office, has hearing loss and needs to see a hearing professional.
2. You have trouble following a conversation when people are talking at the same time. Not always a sign of hearing loss. At a party, for example, you can have five conversations going simultaneously, and if you get a little mixed up, it’s to be expected. Our ability to process multiple incoming and competing signals also deteriorates over time.
However, let’s say you’re at a meeting at work or eating dinner with the family. When two or more people talk at the same time, does you have a hard time keeping up? Yes? Call for a top-down hearing evaluation. It won’t hurt a bit, and it might make life a whole lot better. Better performance 9-5 and more interaction with family and friends. Don’t isolate yourself due to hearing loss. There are lots of solutions – one sure to suit your hearing needs.
3. The family complains that the TV is too loud. Oh, brother, if this isn’t a sign of hearing loss nothing is. When your own kids complain that the TV is too loud, you have a hearing problem.
|Volume maxed out? Get your hearing checked|
What, you’re too young? Too hip? Too cool to have hearing loss? If you listened to loud music through 10 years straight (a rite of passage through the ‘tween and teen years) you could well have damaged your hearing parts and the damage has finally shown.
The fact is, hearing professionals are seeing younger and younger patients – teens and young adults in their 20s – who have experienced some degree of hearing loss due to long-term exposure to music.
Time to call in a professional for a hearing evaluation – even if you still think of yourself as a kid.
4. You strain to hear conversations. Come on. How much confirmation do you need?
Hearing loss affects the whole family who has to shout to be heard. Same with co-workers, this doesn’t look good on your quarterly review at the office. If you find yourself straining to hear the speaker in the boardroom or at the podium, what does that tell you?
Time for a hearing evaluation. Worried about what others will think – especially on the job? He’s old. She’s broken. Well, today’s digital hearing aids are smaller than a quarter, come in lots of styles and provide a better quality of hearing and a better quality of life.
Hearing aids will help you stay in the game and maintain your reputation on the job.
5. You have trouble hearing in noisy environments. You’re with some friends at the new bistro in town. It’s noisy, just like any busy eatery. And all that background noise makes it difficult to hear the folks at your table.
People with hearing loss often have problems masking out background noise. Good news. Today’s hearing aids – even the entry-level variety – come with directional microphones and digital noise reduction.
Directional mics pick up sound in front of you, while reducing the cacophony of ambient noise surrounding you. That’s filtered out and softened so, son of a gun, you can join in the conversation. And add that with digital noise reduction, which reduces the din of background noise to improve comfort, you will have yourself a refined listening experience.
While you’re eating in a noisy restaurant! When was the last time you could do that? Healthy hearing is a quality of life issue. If you’re missing out on conversations, if you don’t hear the birds tweeting or your grandchild’s laughter, you aren’t living life to the fullest.
Fortunately, there are lots of hearing solutions. You just have to find the one that’s right for your needs and preferences.
6. You say ‘What?’ a lot. More than a couple of times a day? Look, just because you didn’t hear a co-worker doesn’t mean you have a hearing loss. It could be something as simple as you weren’t facing the speaker, so you ask her to repeat what she just said.
Conversely, if “what?” is the most commonly-used word in your vocabulary, you aren’t getting the sound signals you need to process information. Guess what?
Time to call a hearing professional to see what’s going on in there. And remember, the hearing aid manufacturers know what you want so you have loads of options to get you back in the hearing game, eh what?
7. People don’t speak clearly. They mumble. Ummm, yeah, sure, that’s what it is. Everyone in your life has turned into a mumbler, right?
Of course not! If it sounds like you’ve got cotton in your ears, even when you don’t, it isn’t the mumblers. It’s your hearing! You aren’t picking up the full range of sound – from high notes to low – so it all sounds like mumbling to you.
Is that how you want to go through life? No really, is that how you want to live? See a hearing professional. And stop the mumbling – your mumbling that is.
8. You misunderstand what people say. “You want me to eat a frog?” “No, Fred, I said, ‘See the fog’.”
Kinda makes you feel a little silly. Not good for the old self-esteem. How about this? Have trouble hearing your spouse from the other room? And he’s only 10 feet away, but there’s a wall between you?
Wasn’t like that a few years back, was it? You heard him just fine.
Don’t miss another word. A pair of hearing aids will do wonders for your “silly” status. You’ll be your old self again, and that’s good for everyone’s self-esteem – especially your own. (And good for your marriage!)
9. You have trouble hearing children and women. Okay, you have hearing loss in the higher frequencies. Children and women speak at a higher “pitch,” out of your hearing range. So, you have no trouble hearing the basso at the opera, but the soprano? Nothing but pops and clicks.
As previously discussed, hearing loss within a specific frequency is pretty common and with age you’re more likely to experience hearing loss within the higher frequencies.
That’s why it’s harder to hear what your granddaughter is saying than your best friend with a big, booming, deep voice. Oh, that’s also why you need a hearing evaluation – to determine precisely which frequencies have gone soft on you. With a tuned hearing aid boosting sound at specific frequencies, while your natural hearing handles the low notes, is going to bring life back to life.
Hear it all.
10. You become annoyed at others because you can’t understand what they say. Man, talk about deflecting blame.
Why are you annoyed at your wife when you can’t hear her 10 feet away? She’s just doing what she’s always done, speaking at the same level as she has for years. So, why are you annoyed?
Well, try to remember, you’re not annoyed at the speaker. You’re really annoyed that you can’t HEAR the speaker as well as you once did.
Hearing loss isn’t just about the ears. Loss of hearing is associated with depression, anxiety, isolation and other “emotional disorders.” So stop the blame game. You’re the one who needs to get tested and fitted with a pair of hearing aids.
Moving Forward with Hearing Loss
Now, as you go through the list, you might recognize one or two of the “symptoms” of hearing loss. Doesn’t mean you’re deaf. Or even going deaf. We all have trouble hearing at different times and under different conditions.
However, if you recognize more than a few of these symptoms, chances are you have some degree of hearing loss. Now, you can learn to live with it and experience less of what life has to offer, or you can pick up the phone and make an appointment for a hearing test.
You can call a hearing professional within easy driving distance from you, no matter where you live. These professionals do a complete work-up on the extent and nature of your hearing loss. Then, they make recommendations of various types of hearing loss solutions – from discrete to diamond encrusted hearing aids.
There are a lot of choices available to treat hearing loss. One of them is perfect for you.
But, nothing is going to get better until you do something about it. You’re the boss of your ears. So, you can live with hearing loss and miss out on a lot of the good stuff, or you can have a hearing test, get fitted with a pair of tuned hearing aids and live your life to the fullest.
What? You’re still reading? Don’t you have to make an appointment with a hearing professional?
What are you waiting for? Find a hearing professional near you today, so you can move forward in life.