Are you having a hard time hearing during conversations? Maybe you’re noticing difficulties during communication. When you struggle to hear when talking to family and friends, or find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, it’s time to take note. Communication difficulties could signal a hearing loss, and it’s a sign you should get a hearing test.
Hearing in Quiet
Did you recently have a hearing test only to be told your hearing is fine? Do you have trouble communicating and can’t figure out why? You might have passed your hearing test, but you still have a hearing loss. This is because you had a hearing test in the quiet of your audiologist’s office. Not everyone who has trouble communicating has trouble hearing in quiet.
This means you might have no problem following conversations in the quiet of your own home, or in a very quiet doctors office.
Hearing in Noise
The difficulty starts when you’re trying to hear in noise. As soon as there’s background noise around you, it suddenly becomes extremely hard to hear! You have difficulty focusing on speech sounds, and you can’t communicate. This could signal a hearing loss, and you should ask your audiologist about hidden hearing loss.
What is Hidden Hearing Loss?
Hidden hearing loss refers to a hearing loss that makes it hard to hear when you’re in a place with lots of competing noises. When you have hearing loss, the cells in your ear are damaged, and not all the sounds in your environment get translated into electrical signals and sent to the brain. So you’ll have trouble hearing the same sounds in quiet or in noise.
However, when you have hidden hearing loss, the damage isn’t in your ears, it’s in your brain. Even though the ears are sending electrical signals about all the sounds around you, the auditory center can’t handle the amount of sounds, and it gets overloaded. That’s why you have hearing loss in places with background noise. In the quiet, when there aren’t many sounds to process, you don’t have trouble hearing.
What Causes Hidden Hearing Loss?
One of the causes of hidden hearing loss is damage to the synapses in the brain. These synapses send the signals from your ears to your brain. Without enough of these synapses, not all the electrical signals reach the brain. You won’t be able to process all the sounds around you, or focus on what you’re trying to hear.
Testing for Hidden Hearing Loss
If you think you have hearing loss, schedule a hearing test with us. We’ll test your ability to hear in quiet and in noise. That way we’ll find out what kind of hearing loss you have, and find out if you have a hidden hearing loss.
The signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty communicating, especially in places with lots of background noise.
- Feeling overwhelmed by sounds in places with lots of noise.
- Having a hard time picking out speech sounds from background sounds.
- Failing to hear soft sounds, like the chirping of birds, or the clicking of the turning signal in your car.
- Struggling to follow what’s being said on TV.
- Failing to hear someone call to you from another room.
These are just some of the signs of hearing loss. If you notice any of these signs of hearing loss, or you’re having difficulty communicating, schedule a hearing test and find out more about your hearing health.
Treating Hidden Hearing Loss
There is no cure for hidden hearing loss. Once cells in your ears or brain are damaged, they can’t be regenerated, and your hearing loss will be permanent. However, treating hidden hearing loss with hearing aids is extremely effective. Quality hearing aids make it easier to hear all the sounds around you. And if you’re struggling to communicate in places with a lot of noise, your hearing aids will reduce background noise and help you ignore the sounds you don’t want to hear.
Modern hearing aids will also help you focus on speech sounds, and they’ll make it easy to follow what’s being said without straining to hear. To find out more about hidden hearing loss, and learn about your hearing aid options, contact us for a hearing test today.