Watching for Early Signs of Hearing Loss

Watching for Early Signs of Hearing Loss

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HISLeave a Comment

Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS

Hearing loss can happen overnight or in a matter of seconds. However, in most cases hearing loss creeps slowly into your life, so subtly that it’s hard to even know it’s happening. Many people fail to self-diagnose a hearing loss until they struggle to hear even in the most ideal of situations. At first it may start as the loss of just subtle sounds, making it occasionally hard to hear in certain environments. Over time it your brain adapts to the deprivation of sound as hearing loss become progressively worse. 

Unaddressed hearing loss is more serious than many believe. It begins to erode your relationships, affect your performance at work, cause cognitive decline, increases the risk of accidents, and can lead to chronic depression, anxiety, and loneliness. It’s best to address a hearing loss before it can progress to an acute point – but how do you know when you have hearing loss? Here are a few early signs of hearing loss which can help you take the important step towards treatment.

Certain Consonants Are Challenging to Decipher 

Two of the most common causes of hearing loss are due to noise exposure or to age related hearing loss. Both of these permanent causes of hearing damage cause high frequency hearing loss. This commonly makes high pitched sounds such as alarms, doorbells, and the voice of small children difficult to hear. It may also affect certain consonants such as the ability to hear S, F, Th, Sh, V, K, and P. The consonants are commonly important in deciphering words such as, “show” from “throw” or “keep” vs. “peep.” This can make conversations hard to follow, leaving exhaustion and frustration in it’s place. While you can hear the words your brain may struggle to make sense of them. If this is happening to you, be sure to schedule a hearing exam today

People Speak of Sounds You Don’t Hear

When was the last time you’ve heard the chirping of birds? Do people ever speak of them and you just don’t hear them? What about crickets or the leaves blowing in the trees. These higher frequency sounds are often some of the first to be lost when a hearing loss begins to develop. Higher pitched sounds and voices register at frequencies of 2,000 Hz or higher, which can be a problem for those at the start of high-frequency hearing loss.

Issues Hearing in Crowded Environments

It’s a challenge for anyone to hear in a crowd but for those with an undiagnosed hearing loss it could be a little more pronounced. High frequency hearing loss commonly creates challenges in deciphering one sound from another amongst music and competing conversations. If you once loved social situations and in the past couple of years you’ve found they are less enjoyable it could signal an unaddressed hearing loss.

Listening Fatigue

When hearing loss sets in hearing not only is frustrating but take a lot more effort. The loss of consonants requires your brain to fill in the blanks in real time during conversation. You may be putting extra focus into listening and still struggling to follow. This is because your brain must do more work than it has previously had to do. While we hear with our ears, we listen with our brain. When your auditory system is compromised, it takes a lot more effort for your brain to process the sound it receives from your inner ear. 

Your Ears are Ringing

Do you ever find yourself ready to go to sleep in a quiet and peaceful room, only to be confronted with a persistent ringing in your ears? This is the sound of tinnitus, a phantom sound with no external source. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 50 million people suffer from some degree of tinnitus, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. While symptoms come and go for most at least 2 million people suffer from tinnitus so debilitating that it interrupts daily life, concertation, and sleep. 90% of those with tinnitus have hearing loss, meaning that if you are experience a phantom ring, it’s a good idea to have your hearing checked.

Schedule a Hearing Exam

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to have your hearing checked right away. Even if you aren’t, it’s never a bad idea to monitor your hearing health. Schedule a hearing exam with us today and know the status of your hearing.

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