How’s your hearing? If you’ve been struggling to follow conversations with your loved ones or have started sleeping through your alarm in the mornings, you may have hearing loss. It’s more common than you think, and there are around 48 million Americans who have a hearing loss. Be on the lookout for these signs of hearing loss so you’ll be able to identify your hearing loss right away.
The Early Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often creeps up on you, and you may not notice it at first. Your brain works hard to help you hear and it makes accommodations to help you hear when your hearing begins to change. Watch for these early warning signs of hearing loss and schedule a hearing test the moment you notice any changes to your hearing health.
Your family notices your hearing loss: You may think you’ll be the first to realize your hearing has changed, but your family will actually notice your hearing loss long before you do. While you can’t always recognize the small daily changes to your hearing or realize you can’t hear all the small sounds around you, your family will start to notice that you don’t hear them from another room, or that you mishear what’s been said more often than usual.
Asking people to repeat themselves: Another early sign of hearing loss is asking people to repeat themselves. You used to hear clearly in conversations, but now you often find yourself scrambling to understand all the words, and you’ll struggle to hear all the consonant sounds to actually understand what’s being said.
Blaming others for mumbling: As your hearing abilities change, you may start to think that everyone around you is mumbling. You tell people to speak up, or ask them to speak more clearly. While it’s nice to pretend it’s someone else’s fault, the truth is that if all your loved ones have been mumbling recently, the problem is likely with your ears, not with your friends.
Turning up the volume on the TV: Have you started turning up the volume on the TV? You may start with small increases, but if you’re watching TV with the volume far louder than a month ago, you have hearing loss. You’ll also realize you’ve been turning up the volume on the phone and the car stereo, and struggle to hear your favorite show or radio program.
Other Signs of Hearing Loss
As your hearing changes, you’ll struggle to follow conversations in places with a lot of background noise. You may be able to hear during one-on-one conversations, but when you’re with friends in a crowded restaurant you have a hard time keeping up with the conversation, identifying who’s speaking, or even hearing the conversation over all the background noise.
Another sign of hearing loss is changing hobbies. If you have hearing loss, you probably don’t enjoy going to movies or concerts anymore. It’s difficult to hear what’s being said on screen, and even at a concert the music has lost some of its rich, full sound. You may start some solitary hobbies, and find yourself spending more and more time alone.
As your hearing loss worsens, you’ll start to notice changes in your relationships. The key to maintaining close connections is communication, and when you have hearing loss you aren’t able to interact with your loved ones like you used to. Frequently mishearing what’s been said and interrupting to ask your loved one to repeat themselves can lead to conflict and frustration, and it won’t be long before communication breaks down.
Those with hearing loss risk social isolation, as they feel cut off from their friends, don’t enjoy deep connections with their loved ones, and often choose to stay at home rather than meeting friends for dinner or drinks. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even depression.
Treating Hearing Loss
If any of these signs of hearing loss sound familiar, its time to treat your hearing loss! Don’t be embarrassed to meet your friends, or struggle to hear conversations, but take control of your hearing health. Find the hearing aids that will help you hear clearly in every situation, and allow you to enjoy life to the fullest.