Are you concerned you might be losing your hearing? If so, you are not alone. More than 15% of adults in the United States have some form of hearing loss, and there are several treatment options to help those experiencing it.
Hearing loss can be caused by genetic factors, aging, or medical conditions. But it can also be caused by lifestyle factors, such as our home and work situation. If you work in an environment where you are regularly exposed to loud noises like a factory, airport, or music venue, or you listen to loud music through headphones, you are at risk.
Hearing loss is gradual, and most people don’t notice it until the effects have developed significantly. Getting it checked out as early as possible will enable your doctor to spot any symptoms and offer treatment options to prevent it from worsening. So if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should book a hearing test with an audiologist right away.
You are always asking people to repeat themselves. Sometimes people mumble, or you’re just not paying attention to what they’re saying. But if you find that you are increasingly asking people to repeat what they just said, you may not be receiving the sounds needed for your brain to process speech.
You have trouble talking on the telephone. A significant portion of our understanding in conversation comes from nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. When talking over the phone, you don’t have the benefit of these visual cues, so you have to rely solely on listening to speech. If talking on the phone is a constant struggle, you may have hearing loss.
You have your TV on too loud. If friends and family keep telling you the volume is too high on the TV or radio, they may be onto something.
You struggle to follow conversations in noisy environments. Do you frequently have a hard time hearing conversations in a noisy restaurant or with the TV on in the background? Hearing loss makes it difficult to understand speech when other noises are going on simultaneously.
You feel drained after socializing. When your hearing is impaired, you have to struggle and focus intently to make out what people are saying. If you feel physically and mentally fatigued after every conversation, you may need to get your hearing tested.
You avoid social gatherings. When misunderstandings and confusion get too much, or your poor hearing makes you feel embarrassed and awkward, you may start to avoid social situations altogether. Don’t let your hearing get in the way of your social life.
Your personal relationships are suffering. Not being able to hear well can be frustrating, both for yourself and those around you. Often loved ones can get annoyed having to repeat themselves or upset because they think you’re ignoring them. Getting treatment for your hearing loss will improve your communication and personal relationships.
You can’t hear your children. When hearing loss strikes, it is usually higher frequencies you have problems hearing. For this reason, you may have more trouble understanding the higher-pitched voices of children and women.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you should book a hearing test at once. A doctor will be able to identify hearing loss so you can get treatment before it gets any worse.
Photo by Juan Ignacio Escobar Tosi
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