Did you know that hearing is our fastest sense? While the brain takes a quarter of a second to process an image, it only takes 0.05 seconds for sound to be processed. However, because hearing is an invisible sense, it may be difficult to identify hearing loss when it first begins.
Hearing loss often occurs gradually, over a period of time. The signs of hearing loss are numerous, but they may not be apparent right away. Once we begin to experience changes in our hearing, it is important to seek a hearing exam.
On average, people wait seven years from the time they first experience changes in their hearing until they decide to seek treatment. Leaving hearing loss untreated for long periods of time may have adverse effects on one’s overall health and well-being.
How do we identify the signs of hearing loss? Here are a few tell-tale signs that either you, or someone you love, are experiencing hearing loss.
Asking People to Repeat What They Say
Hearing loss interferes with our speech recognition abilities. Different frequencies of voices, especially higher ones, become difficult to hear with some forms of hearing loss. As a result, people who experience hearing loss tend to ask people to repeat themselves.
They may also misunderstand what is being said, which leads to miscommunication. Many people with hearing loss report the experience of conversation as being able to hear, but not being unable to understand.
In other instances, it may sound like people you’re conversing with are mumbling, and you may find yourself asking people to speak clearly or loudly. In reality, they may be speaking clearly at a normal volume. Hearing loss makes speech recognition difficult, and also, it interferes with our ability to predict speech patterns.
Turning Up the Volume on TV & Radio
Whether you are at home or in the car, your loved one may have asked you to turn down the volume on the TV or radio. This may be a sign of hearing loss. Hearing loss comes in many degrees and configurations. Even though you turn up the volume on different media, it doesn’t necessarily help to make the sounds clearer.
If you’ve noticed that the volume is gradually increasing on your different electronics, this could be a sign of hearing loss.
Difficulty Locating Sound & Hearing in Noise
Our sense of hearing is an important tool in helping us situate ourselves within our environment. Through hearing, we can tell how far away cars are or whether someone speaking to us is behind us or to the right or left of us. If you’ve begun to experience a sense of disorientation when it comes to sound, such as not knowing the direction from which sounds come, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
Hearing in noise also becomes a challenge with hearing loss. If you’ve found yourself at a busy restaurant, trying to hear your dining companions over the background noise with no success, this could also be an indication of hearing loss. Hearing loss makes it difficult for us to discern between noises and focus on the sounds we want to hear.
One of the major signs of hearing loss is social withdrawal. Because communication becomes difficult, people who are experiencing changes in their hearing tend to avoid social situations. Additionally, the supposed taboo of hearing loss may make people feel insecure or uncomfortable. As a result, untreated hearing loss has been linked to a risk for depression, stress, and anxiety. When people begin to withdraw socially from their friends and loved ones, and avoid doing the things they love, they become more isolated.
If you’ve noticed that you, or someone you love, have been withdrawing socially or avoiding social situations, it may be an indication of hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States. If you believe you, or someone you love, are experiencing hearing loss, it is important to seek help from a hearing professional. Contact us at Custom Hearing Solutions today. With a simple hearing exam, you will be well on your way to better hearing health!