Hearing loss usually goes unnoticed until it becomes a serious issue. Untreated hearing loss, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), can double the risk of issues with depression and anxiety as well as other mental health conditions like dementia. Consequently, if I can identify and treat hearing loss sooner, I have a better chance of heading off the development of additional health issues. To help with early identification, I have compiled a list of some common signs or symptoms associated with hearing loss.
Asking Others to Repeat Themselves
A common sign of hearing loss is the frequent use of “What did you say?” This is especially common in crowded rooms or in busy restaurants, where the clatter of dishes and numerous conversations make it hard to distinguish the speaker’s voice. Difficulty understanding women and children, who speak in a higher pitch, adding to sound distortion and missed words, also becomes more common. Because it develops into a common habit of daily living, most people don’t even realize that they are asking for clarification with greater frequency.
Trouble Understanding Phone Conversations
If you notice an increased difficulty with understanding phone conversations or hate using the phone as a means to communicate, it is likely due to not hearing them well. When we speak with someone face to face, we are able to pick up visual, non-verbal cues throughout the conversation. Phone conversations eliminate these visual cues requiring you to rely on hearing alone, which makes phone conversations frustrating for those with a hearing loss.
You’re right, some people do not enunciate clearly when they speak or they speak too fast, but that is not true of the vast majority of speakers. An indicator of hearing loss includes a diminished capacity to identify the consonants in words, which makes it nearly impossible to distinguish one vowel-loaded word from another. If it seems that everyone around you is mumbling, it is probably time for a hearing exam.
Remote Control Dependence
Do you have remote control dependency? There are those who enjoy the power of guarding the TV remote, but others who depend on it, because they cannot hear well. If you notice a regular tendency of turning up the volume on your TV, radio, cell phone, and other electronic devices, this could be an early indicator of hearing loss.
Headaches and Fatigue
Headaches and fatigue are symptoms of a broad range of health conditions. One possible diagnosis for frequent headaches and fatigue is hearing loss. Those who spend most of their day engaged in conversations as a part of their work, or because they are highly social, often develop these symptoms due to the stress of trying to keep up with the conversations. Headaches and fatigue come from straining and increased concentration to fill in the blanks in conversations you’re not hearing well.
Continuous Ringing or Buzzing
In describing tinnitus, my clients use a variety of words, such as ringing, buzzing, or whooshing, which never goes away, even to the point of irritation. Damage from frequent or continuous exposure to loud noise or age-related deterioration are common causes of tinnitus, which makes you hear sounds that are not actually there.
You or other family members who are experiencing one, several, or all of these symptoms should consider making an appointment for a hearing examination. The sooner I am able to provide you with the right solution to hearing loss, the easier it will be for you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The team at Sound Audiology and Hearing Aids and I have the expertise and equipment to accurately identify hearing loss and provide those in Kennewick, WA and the Tri-Cities area with top-level hearing health care before things get worse.