If you find yourself saying, “Honey, I can’t hear you?” several times a day or frequently need to crank up the volume on your television, it might be reassuring to know you’re not alone.
A lot of other people are experiencing the same frustrations, especially in the age 60+ demographic. While about one-third of adults over age 60 have some degree of hearing loss, this total approaches two-thirds of adults by age 70. When your hearing loss gets worse, this can impact your daily communications and quality of life. For example, not hearing well may cause you to avoid certain activities you once enjoyed and withdraw from friends and family.
Like many other conditions, hearing loss affects people in different ways. Factors that can influence hearing loss symptoms include your age, type of hearing loss, underlying cause, and its severity. Here are a few common signs of hearing loss:
In the early stages of hearing loss, your brain is able to compensate. It’s common not to notice when your hearing loss is mild, but loved ones and close friends may point this out. An easy, nontechnical way to describe mild, moderate, severe, and profound hearing loss symptoms is by the kind of sounds a person may have difficulty hearing at each stage.
High-frequency sounds are processed at the base of your inner ear (cochlea), while low-frequency sounds are processed near the top. Hearing loss related to age and noise often affects high frequency sounds first. If you have this type of hearing loss, you may have difficulty hearing women and children’s voices, chirping birds, doorbells, beeping microwave ovens, and consonant sounds (e.g. s, sh, f, v, th, f, and p).
Although the symptoms may seem similar, the distinguishing factor between sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss is that sensorineural hearing loss causes both diminished and distorted sounds. In contrast, people with conductive hearing loss typically only experience diminished sounds. When a person has mixed hearing loss, this can cause a combination of symptoms.
A wide variety of illnesses and disorders can cause hearing loss, and surprisingly, so can more than 200 medications.
Below is a summary of select disease-specific hearing loss symptoms:
It’s normal to feel a little nervous when you see a licensed hearing care professional for the first time about your hearing loss. Be prepared to answer some questions. They will ask when you first noticed hearing loss symptoms and also inquire about their severity, whether you have vertigo, other neurological symptoms, infections, or any conditions that may be the root cause of your hearing loss.
If this is your first visit, you’ll be asked about your past medical history, family history, and potential occupational or recreational noise exposure. Being able to answer these questions will help your hearing care professional make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most effective treatment. Hearing tests at your local hearing care professional’s office are often free, and they can help determine if your condition is serious or not. If it is, they can refer you to an audiologist who will test hearing frequency ranges and your ability to hear speech without any background noise.
While many cases of hearing loss cannot be reversed, treatment can resolve the majority of symptoms, enabling you to enjoy life.
It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.