There are many different causes of hearing loss and even different types of hearing loss. The most common cause of hearing loss is ‘presbycusis’ or age-related hearing loss.
Typically, hearing loss due to age is influenced by genetics, exposure to loud sounds through your lifetime and general overall health. 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.
Like any medical condition, the sooner you address the hearing loss the better outcome you will have. The following are 10 common signs that you may have hearing loss. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, organise a visit to a local hearing care specialist.
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 or family. However if you need it at max volume, chances are you may have some level of hearing loss.
2. The family complains that the TV is too loud.
When your kids or significant other complain that the TV is too loud, this is probably the best sign of a hearing problem. If you think this might only be an issue for older generations, think again. The fact is, hearing professionals like me are seeing younger and younger patients – who have experienced some degree of hearing loss due to long-term exposure to music.
3. You strain to hear conversations.
Ever have a headache at the end of the day? Feel completely exhausted after a simple day of conversing with friends or family? Chances are this fatigue is caused by constant straining to follow the conversation. Having to focus all day to clearly hear conversation is exhausting work and can lead to headaches, fatigue and exhaustion. Hearing aids will help you follow what is being said and make you feel better at the end of the day.
4. You have trouble hearing in noisy environments.
You’re out with some friends at a restaurant for dinner and it’s noisy. All of that background noise makes it difficult to hear conversation at your table. People with hearing loss often have problems masking out background noise.
5. You say ‘Pardon?’ a lot.
If “what?” or “pardon?” is the most commonly used word in your vocabulary, you aren’t getting the sound signals you need to process sound correctly.
6. People don’t speak clearly.
Sounds seem muffled, or when people are talking it sounds like they’re mumbling. This is because often (especially in age-related hearing loss) the high frequencies (those that make up the consonants) are the first to be affected by sensorineural hearing loss; and it's these that give clarity to speech.
7. You misunderstand what people say.
“Its 11o’clock” “No, John, I said, ‘What kind is it? Not what time is it!". Misunderstanding people can be embarrassing, but it doesn't have to be that way. Hearing aids can enable you to understand conversation and avoid the awkwardness of mishearing important directions, the punch line to a joke or the lyrics to your favourite song.
8. You have trouble hearing children and women.
Hearing loss within a specific frequency is very common and with age, you are more likely to experience hearing loss within the higher frequencies. Since women and children speak at higher pitches or frequencies, it’s often more difficult to hear what your granddaughter or wife is saying to you than when your best friend with a big, booming, deep voice speaks to you.
What’s the next step?
If you recognise one or two of the above signs, please do not panic. We all experience times where we have trouble hearing. However seeking advice from one of our expert audiologists would be recommended, just so you can establish where your hearing levels are at.
If your hearing is within the expected limits, then brilliant. If it is not so good and you might need some help then at least you can find out what options are available to you. You might just be surprised!
To book your hearing assessment appointment at one of our centres across Suffolk and Norfolk, please click here.