Problems with hearing can occur at any age and can be influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, prolonged exposure to loud noises and sounds, or health problems in general. But the most common cause of hearing loss is a condition called presbycusis, which is when hearing loss is connected to the aging process.
No matter what the reason, hearing loss tends to occur gradually, and this can be so gradual that some people do not even realise they have hearing loss. This is because we generally lose hearing in the higher frequencies first, and so can still technically ‘hear’, even though we may not fully comprehend every little sound.
So, what signs will tell you that you may be experiencing hearing loss? Below is a list of different situations to look out for. If they happen to you, it may be that it’s time to find out more about getting a hearing test booked. The sooner you deal with hearing loss, the better the treatment and outcome you will have.
1. It’s difficult to follow a three-way conversation. If you’re at a meeting or having a meal with friends and more than one person is speaking at once, is it becoming difficult for you to keep up?
2. Telephone conversations are hard work. Most telephones have an adjustable volume button – do you need to turn yours up to the max? That may be an indication that you have hearing loss. Even with the volume turned up, you may still find phone conversations difficult to follow. If so, hearing loss may be the cause.
3. Other people say the TV is too loud. This is one of the most obvious signs of hearing loss – when everyone else in the room wants the volume turned down, but you think the sound is just right. Although having the TV on very loud used to be associated only with older people, today hearing professionals are testing the hearing of ever-larger numbers of people in their teens and twenties, and this has been linked to prolonged use of headphones for playing music.
4. Do you find that you avoid going to certain restaurants or bars because it’s difficult to hear conversations in them? Background noise can be difficult to mask if you have hearing loss. Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of kit – even at entry level, they have directional microphones and digital noise reduction. That means you can pick up the sound in front of you (your date or friend’s conversation) and reduce the background ambient noise in the room.
5. Misunderstanding what people say can be another indication of hearing loss. While a misunderstanding can sometimes be amusing, if it happens on a regular basis it becomes embarrassing. Addressing hearing loss with a hearing aid will mean that there will be fewer misunderstandings in future, and you will hear the punchlines to jokes, too.
These are some of the main indications or clues that may signpost you to having a hearing test. You can’t lose out by having one. Either you’ll find that your hearing is OK, and there’s nothing you need to do, or you’ll find out that you do indeed have some hearing loss and you’ll discover what treatments are available to ameliorate it.