Hearing loss can lead to more than just the loss of your hearing. Without taking appropriate steps, it could lead to larger medical and psychological problems. It can also post a safety risk if you aren’t able to hear the sounds around you, especially when walking in big cities.
It’s for this reason that we have to keep a close eye on our hearing capacities. But this is more difficult than you think. Hearing loss usually occurs slowly, to such an extent that you might not be able to track the changes in your hearing easily. By knowing the early signs of hearing loss, you can better identify them if and when they present themselves, and be able to treat the hearing loss early.
If you have noticed any of the following signs, then it might be time to get a hearing test.
You can hear them but you just can’t understand them
A lot of people with early-stage hearing loss think that they can’t possibly have hearing loss because they can hear everyone around them, but they just can’t understand them.
The reason for this is that hearing loss usually occurs asymmetrically, not equally across the frequency spectrum. Almost no one experiences the kind of hearing loss that sounds like someone has turned the volume knob down on your ears.
Very often, the first frequencies to go are in the higher register. This has the effect of making the lower pitched background sounds around you appear louder, and muffling the higher pitched consonants of speech closest to you. This makes it hard to distinguish between consonant sounds like ‘s’ and ‘c’, making it difficult to distinguish between different words, thus reducing the ability to follow a conversation in a noisy place.
You’re exhausted after big parties
In noisy conditions, the hair cells in our inner ear of a person with hearing loss fail to adequately pick up enough sound information. This means the brain is required to make up the shortfall by ‘filling in the gaps’ in words with clues from body language, social context and the mind’s existing knowledge of the language being spoken.
Having to do this for each sentence that is spoken in a conversation is an exhausting task for the brain, and often leads to mental and even physical exhaustion. You might feel like this after a noisy event socializing with many people, including office happy hours, family parties or group dinners.
You don’t want to leave the house
Feeling exhausted after social events could make you less likely to leave the house. After all, not much stress or anxiety can occur from a night of Netflix.
This is no doubt an emotional response to the stress of failing to communicate with others. You may feel anxious about starting new conversations with others because you aren’t guaranteed to hear when the other person is saying, and you might say something completely unrelated to the conversation, embarrassing yourself.
Be careful if you see yourself in this particular sign of hearing loss. Purposely shutting yourself off from your friends and family can lead to social isolation, which could you put you on the path to psychological disorders such as depression or cognitive issues such as an increased risk for dementia.
You have ringing in the ears
Have you been experiencing a persistent ringing in your ears? It might be tinnitus. Although it is common to experience some ringing in the ears after going to a loud concert or sport game, it might become more of a problem if it continues to be there in the morning.
Up to 90% of people with tinnitus also have noise-induced hearing loss, so get yourself tested if the ringing just won’t stop.
People complain that your TV is too loud
Your family and friends are often the first to notice your hearing loss, even before you do. So, if they are making comments about how loud you like the TV or stereo, it might be best to listen to them. You might think the level is normal, but those around you are the best judge of that, especially if they begin to outnumber you. By turning the volume up, you are compensating for your hearing loss and should be wary about exposing yourself to even more hearing damage.
dB Hearing Center
If any of these signs of hearing loss resonate with you, visit us at dB Hearing Center for a comprehensive hearing test. We work with you to find a hearing solution that fits your lifestyle. Contact us today to set up a consultation.