You have hearing loss, but is it obvious to everyone?
Well, that’s exactly the problem, you probably assume it is but that might not be the case. While profound or sudden hearing loss is easy to spot, mild to moderate progressive hearing loss is tougher. This is why many people wait up to five years from the onset of symptoms to get help.
Consider your hearing loss a slow leak in a tire. From day-to-day, you might not notice the changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.
Unfortunately, while tires are replaceable, the same thing can not be said about your hearing. The truth is the earlier you get help the more of your hearing you’ll get back.
It starts with learning to recognize the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss. Consider some the hidden signs that suggest you should get a hearing test.
1. Certain Sounds are Elusive
Oftentimes people assume that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normal.
Don’t get trapped into this mode of thinking. The reality is that hearing loss mostly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You may notice that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, because of the higher pitch.
This may lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when in fact, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. You Need Context to Understand What You Hear
Someone is speaking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to rely on body language, and possibly lip reading, for additional information to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The problem for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants convey the most meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is like reading a sentence with missing letters. Most of the time, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Noisy Backgrounds Change Your Hearing
With mild hearing loss, you can usually decipher what others are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is introduced, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You may find that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like restaurants or parties. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it extremely difficult to focus on any one source of sound.
4. Your Brain Feels Tired
Last, you may notice that you’re more fatigued than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For those with hearing loss, the constant struggle to hear, combined with the effort to understand incomplete sounds, can lead to severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more difficult to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly recommend scheduling a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.