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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that hearing loss effects one-third of people aged 65-74 and one-half of people over the age of 74. Shockingly, hearing loss also effects about one fifth of young adults.
If hearing loss is so common, why are so few people seem to be treating their hearing loss with hearing aids? The fact of the matter is, many people with hearing loss do not even realize they have an impairment. There are many reasons for this. Unfortunately, there still remains an unnecessary stigma surrounding hearing loss and hearing aids. Because of this, many people may unconsciously deny their hearing loss for fear of looking or seeming “older”. Another reason for this discrepancy is that hearing loss typically occurs over a period of many years or even decades, so it can be very difficult to detect.
Treating hearing loss early will certainly help your hearing and understanding, but did you know treating your hearing loss has also been shown to improve marital and family relationships, earning potential, and happiness?
Knowing these signs will help you better identify if you or someone you love may be experiencing hearing loss.
- That annoying ringing, buzzing, or whooshing in your ears. It’s called tinnitus, and it’s often a sign of hearing loss. Scientists are not completely sure what causes the phantom ringing or buzzing you hear. However, what they do know is that tinnitus is most often associated with at least some degree of hearing loss. In fact, about 90% of people who experience tinnitus also have an underlying hearing loss.
- Listening to the TV at increased volumes. This one is difficult to detect, as people with hearing loss tend to slowly increase the volume over time. One way to know if you are listening at a higher than normal volume is to ask a friend of family member to listen in. If you live with a loved one, you’ve probably already heard him or her asking you to please turn it down on a consistent basis. If this is you, it’s time to listen to them. It’s much more likely that you are experiencing hearing loss than your partner suddenly experiencing super-human hearing!
- Complaints from friends and family that you are not listening. This one can be a bit painful. When you have an untreated and undetected hearing loss, it can be difficult for you to catch all that a loved one is saying – even if you are really If neither of you are aware of a hearing loss, this can come across as you not being invested in what they are saying enough to fully pay attention and listen. This can often cause a lot of miscommunication and unnecessary hurt feelings. If you have been hearing this from friends or family, it’s probably time for a hearing screen.
- Turning down more invitations than you used to. Look at your calendar and be honest with yourself. Have you been attending the same number of social gatherings as you did even a few years ago? Oftentimes, people with hearing loss will subconsciously withdraw from social settings with a lot of background noise like happy hours or family parties. The reason for this is that with untreated hearing loss, holding conversations at these types of events slowly become more frustrating and less enjoyable than before. Even if you still attend all the events you used to, are you enjoying them to the same degree? If not, untreated hearing loss may be the cause.
- Feeling like people are mumbling or struggling to hear women or children. With hearing loss, the minute differences between speech sounds such as “p” and “d” are the first to go. This can cause confusion during conversations and may even make it sound like others around you are simply mumbling. Also, higher-frequency sounds are also more likely to be lost due to hearing loss than lower frequency sounds. Because of this, many people experience a more difficult time understanding the higher-pitched speech often associated with the speech of women or children. Pay attention to those around you – if you feel that they are mumbling but they do not – it might be time to reach out to us for a comprehensive hearing assessment.
Visit Us at Elevate Audiology Hearing Center
If you have experienced a few of the above signs of hearing loss, it may be time to schedule a hearing test. At Elevate Audiology Hearing Center, we provide comprehensive hearing tests and hearing aid fittings. If a hearing loss is detected, we will work with you to find a solution to meet your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!