Did you know that hearing loss often develops so slowly that you may not notice it at first? Most hearing loss progressively worsens over time.
Luckily, the sooner it’s detected, the better your outcome. You can prevent further hearing loss and improve your quality of life.
Keep reading to learn more about why hearing loss occurs and how to tell if your hearing has changed.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss occurs when you can only partially hear sound in one or both ears. While there are many reasons why you may lose your hearing, the most common causes of hearing loss are noise and age.
Exposure to loud noises over the years increases your risk of developing lasting hearing loss. Changes in your inner ear cause gradual, irreversible hearing loss as you age.
Other reasons why hearing loss occurs can include:
- Inner ear infections
- Experiencing a physical blow to the ear
- Head tumors
- Having a blockage of the ear
- Head injuries
- High fever
- Viral infections, like mumps and measles
- Having a known family history of hearing loss
- Taking certain medications like ototoxic drugs
In most cases, hearing loss doesn’t have a cure. Although there is usually no cure, many people can treat hearing loss using hearing aids.
What are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
If you recognize one or more of these signs, you should schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. You may have hearing loss if:
People Complain the Volume is too Loud
Do your friends, family, or colleagues complain that the noise levels are too high when you talk on the phone, listen to music, or watch TV? Although some people are more sensitive to sound, if people in different situations tell you the same thing that the volume is louder than it needs to be, it could be a sign of a hearing problem.
If you’ve suffered from hearing loss, you may try to compensate by increasing the volume to listen better. Check the volume levels on your devices. Chances are, you’ve turned up the volume too high because of hearing loss.
You Hear a Persistent Ringing in Your Ears
Tinnitus is a condition that causes a continuous buzzing, humming, or ringing sound in your ear. When you have tinnitus, only you can hear the sounds.
Even though tinnitus is not always a symptom of hearing loss, the condition has close ties to hearing loss. If the buzzing sound persists, it’s essential to have it checked out by an audiologist.
There’s a possibility you may have hearing loss.
It’s Become Harder to Follow Conversations
With hearing loss, it becomes difficult to understand what others are saying. You may also have trouble following a conversation in noisy environments.
Being lost in conversation occasionally may not be an indication of hearing loss. But you could have hearing loss if you realize you can’t hold a conversation when others are chatting away in the background.
You Often Say “What?”
Do you say “what?” all the time? If you ask your co-workers, family members, and friends to keep repeating themselves, that’s another sign of hearing loss.
Even after they repeat what they said, you might find that you’re still unable to understand. Asking people to keep repeating themselves is frustrating to everyone and can also make you feel uneasy.
For this reason, those with hearing loss usually pretend to hear by smiling, nodding, or responding with vague expressions like “uh-huh.” You may feel confused, uncertain, and out of place because you can’t follow what’s happening.
Many people with hearing loss stop attending social events to avoid these situations.
Everyone Seems to Be Mumbling
If people around you sound like they’re mumbling, you probably have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually makes sounds seem muffled even though they’re clear and loud.
Sometimes, the problem could be an accumulation of earwax, which you can have easily removed by a doctor. But if your doctor confirms your ear canals don’t have a buildup of wax, it could be time for a hearing test.
Social Events Make You Tired
You used to look forward to catching up with family and friends. But now, you find that social events are draining.
It’s anything but fun when you can’t hear what’s going on around you. If you have hearing loss, you may find yourself mentally and physically exhausted.
Besides feeling tired, there’s also distracting background noise that makes it even more challenging to participate in conversations. You may feel frustrated or at the end of your rope from trying to hear everything around you.
Hearing loss could be to blame if you realize that you frequently have headaches or are fatigued after a social event.
You Find Yourself Misunderstanding Things More
It’s one thing to answer a question incorrectly because you misheard a question. But if you do it constantly because you couldn’t hear what was initially asked, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
Misunderstandings are typically seen in the early stages of high-frequency hearing loss. In this stage, it becomes increasingly harder to understand speech.
You’re Relying on Visual Cues
Learning to read lips and body language is a subtle yet common sign of hearing loss. To understand what the other person is saying, you may start to depend on visual cues like lip reading, hand gestures, and facial expressions.
Get Your Hearing Tested
If you’re familiar with one or more of these signs, it’s time to get your hearing checked. A licensed clinical audiologist at Suburban Otolaryngology can accurately test your hearing and determine what kind of hearing loss you have.
Based on your results, our team will discuss the best treatment options to improve your hearing and enhance your life.
Do you suspect you may have hearing loss? Schedule an appointment at Suburban Otolaryngology in Berwyn, IL, now and get the help you need!