How to Recognize Hearing Problems

a younger patient cupping her hand to her ear to hear better

Experiencing hearing loss can be stressful. Hearing at full capacity is how we engage with social situations, enjoy events, and connect with family and loved ones, so experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss can feel upsetting and isolating.

Wherever you are with hearing loss, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. One in eight people in the US over 12 years of age experience hearing loss – that’s 13% or 30 million of us, so it’s something many people are going through. This increases as we get older and hearing loss as we age (presbycusis) occurs to about one in three of us. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms so you know when to take action and book an appointment with one of our expert audiologists. Here are some things to look out for:

Muffled speech and other sounds

If you need to ask people to repeat themselves, or those in the same situation have heard what has been said, and you have not, then this can be a key sign that you are experiencing hearing loss. This might also combine with another sign that you are experiencing hearing loss, which is if you have a difficulty understanding noise, especially if there is background sound or you are in a crowded area. Of course, some public situations are just loud. However, if you are consistently having difficulty understanding speech in noisy areas, or the sounds are strangely muffled (this can range from as if you have your fingers in your ears to as if you are underwater) then it might be a good idea to seek another opinion from one of our hearing experts.

Trouble hearing consonants

This is another factor that may demonstrate you are experiencing hearing loss; some friends and colleagues have accents where the consonants are less apparent generally. However, if it has not previously been a problem and suddenly you notice the consonants by their absence, this can be a symptom of hearing loss. Coupled with often asking others to speak more slowly, loudly, or clearly, it may be worthwhile to start thinking about speaking to one of our hearing care professionals to see if you are experiencing any onset of hearing loss.

Social settings have become difficult

This is one of the most isolating aspects of hearing loss and where it is so important for you to know what you are not alone, and our audiologists can help you fully engage in social settings and participate in life again rather than just being a spectator. If you find yourself withdrawing from conversations and perhaps even avoiding going out or engaging in public gatherings or events because you feel anxious about being able to fully participate, then this is exactly the moment to reach out and make an appointment.

Age-related hearing loss can occur gradually over a number of months or years, so it’s something you might not notice initially. You will probably not experience all the above symptoms, and, if you do, they may not all happen at once. Sometimes other people can be helpful in recognizing the signs – ask those close to you whether they have noticed a difference in your ability to participate in daily life. Try not to take it personally if they say yes, remember that they have your health and best interests at heart, although it can be hard not to feel attacked when your friends and family say that you might be experiencing hearing loss.

It’s important to remember that, though hearing loss isn’t reversible, your ability to join in and participate again in everyday life doesn’t have to be affected. Your audiologist will take you through a quick and entirely painless hearing test, which will then determine what the next best steps will be for you. Sometimes, the milder symptoms of hearing loss (muffled or blurred sounds) can be caused by a buildup of earwax, so it may just be a simple case of getting your ears syringed to resolve things. Remember though, if you experience inner-ear pain or a sharp or sudden hearing loss, seek medical advice immediately and avoid inserting anything into your own ears.

You don’t want to regret all the years you spent experiencing hearing loss without taking action when there was an easy solution just a phone call away. So, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you think speaking with an audiologist could open doors for you and help you reengage with life, then speak to The Hearing Doctors today at (630) 315-2899.