Signs you may have hearing loss


The most common statement I hear patients say is “I can hear fine, it is only sometimes I don’t understand or distinguish words correctly.” Patients also say “I hear fine if people will speak up. I only have problems because people mumble,” or “I don’t have problems hearing except in background noise.”  These are the most common complaints that indicate hearing loss. Because hearing loss generally occurs gradually over time and we adapt to this change, it can be difficult to notice hearing has declined.

Some common signs of hearing loss include:
·         People sound like they are mumbling
·         Ability to hear others but not understand or discern their words
·         Speech sounds unclear or muffled
·         Ringing or sounds in the ears (e.g. tinnitus)
·         The need to watch people’s face or mouth when they talk to understand them
·         Difficulties hearing or understanding others in background noise (e.g. restaurants)
·         Difficulties hearing in groups with more than one talker
·         Difficulties hearing in large rooms with an echo (e.g. rooms with high ceilings, at church, etc.)
·         Problems hearing women’s’ or children’s’ voices
·         Problems hearing on the phone
·         Increased volume on the television or radio
·         Asking others to repeat themselves
·         A spouse, family member, or significant other notices reduction in your hearing/communication

Some common side effects of hearing loss include:
·         Frustration when trying to communicate in difficult environments (e.g. restaurants, groups)
·         Withdrawal from social situations
·         Fatigue when listening or communicating
·         Depression
·         Anxiety when communicating for fear of missing what is said or responding inappropriately
·         Social isolation
·         Cognitive decline

Hearing loss can occur at any age and is not just a “normal part of aging” that should be coped with. Treatment of hearing loss can help reduce the side effects of hearing loss listed above. Many patients feel hearing loss is a sign that they are getting old and want to “put off hearing aids as long as possible.” Hearing is vital to connecting to the world around us! It is important to treat hearing loss (even mild hearing loss!) to help reduce the potential effects of hearing loss listed above. Sometimes if patients that wait too long to treat their hearing loss, they may have a more difficult time adapting to hearing aids and treatment. We want to keep you engaged with your friends, family, and environment. 
LeAnn Clements, Au.D, CCC-A Clinical Audiologist at Hill Country Ear, Nose & Throat

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