Hearing loss is a condition that many people deal with today. According to a 2018 study, approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing loss, and nearly half the population of the United States over the age of 75 live with impaired hearing.
However, hearing loss doesn’t just affect the elderly. Approximately one in five American teens experience varying degrees of hearing loss. Further estimates show that about three out of every 1,000 American children are born with detectable levels of hearing loss which can be confined to just one ear or both ears.
Different forms of hearing loss include conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, and auditory processing disorders. Conductive hearing loss includes the type of hearing loss which makes it difficult for sounds to reach a person’s inner ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to your inner ear. Mixed hearing loss is exactly what the name implies – a combination of hearing problems associated with a person’s middle, outer, and inner ear.
Auditory processing disorders happen when the brain cannot process information contained in sound. This can include understanding speech and working out where sounds come from.
Fortunately, there is always a way to recognize if you are experiencing hearing loss as well as some modern technology approaches to help improve your listening environment. Below are a few ways that a person can recognize the signs of hearing loss.
1. Muffled sounds or voices become more common.
One of the first signs of hearing loss is experiencing muffled sounds or voices. When speaking with a person or group of people, this can be a startling occurrence. A person is used to hearing voices clearly. They can pick up on the nuances of voices and pitches as they hold a conversation. Whether important or not, being able to recognize a person’s voice helps you, the listener, to understand how to properly respond.
Do you hear a pleasant inflection in another person’s voice? Does the person seem terser in their response to a question which you may have asked? Having the ability to hear a person clearly can help in situations like these. When it comes to muffled sounds and poor sound quality overall, being able to decipher what the sound actually is can prompt you to react accordingly in certain situations.
What if you’re driving your car, and can’t immediately hear the screeching sound of a car braking around you? What if you’re at a gun range, but can’t hear shots indicating that another person is also at the range with you? These are obvious signs of hearing loss. This is a sign that you may need to take further action to combat this loss by adding a hearing aid or a phonak audeo marvel to help improve your listening experience.
2. You find yourself exhausted after social events.
Hearing is important for dealing with a variety of situations, especially social events. Whether it’s attending a concert, a family BBQ, hanging out with friends at a club, or just catching a movie at the theater, being able to make sense of the situation auditorily helps you enjoy the experience. When a person begins to undergo hearing loss, this enjoyment can be replaced by exhaustion.
For someone experiencing hearing loss, such social situations can become taxing. Your brain is forced to fill in the gaps of information that you can’t pick up on as a result of hearing loss. You may spend half your time trying to figure how and what you didn’t hear. This can cause you to become tired by the end of the event and in many cases, prompt you to cancel any future hang-outs.
3. You constantly turn the volume up on the television.
Everyone loves a good sound system for their televisions. Being able to hear your favorite tv programs clearly from the comfort of your own home is something that we all want. However, how much volume you use to control your television can be a clear indicator of a potential hearing loss.
Imagine yourself not being able to hear your favorite tv programs as well as you might have in the past. This can be a simple sign of needing to have your hearing checked for possible auditory loss.
Television sounds send out a mixture of various noise cues that strike our auditory nerves including dialogue, sound effects, and music. When you find yourself constantly adjusting the volume often to make up for a lack of one or more of these components, this may also be an indicator of hearing loss.
Combine this action with another person in the house asking why you're constantly watching the television with the volume up full blast, might suggest that its time to see a doctor about possible hearing loss.