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Common signs you are suffering from hearing loss

March 16, 2016 by Paul Harrison
Published in: Hearing Aids

Common signs you are suffering from hearing loss

There are lots of symptoms of hearing loss. Many can go overlooked at first as, after all, if you can’t hear a sound you don’t know it was there. Everyday sounds such as the hum of the fridge in your kitchen or the birds outside can fade away without you noticing.

You may be able to hear people but not understand everything they are saying, making you feel out of sync with the conversation. You might get the wrong end of the stick in conversations and get frustrated with people. If the subject changes without you realising you might find yourself speaking out of turn and feel silly.

You could be accused of ignoring people when they call you in the street or not hear someone coming up behind you, making you jump. Whilst you can hear conversation at home you could find it harder when you are outside or in a large room with a high ceiling.

You might start to suspect people are talking about you in quiet voices, or that you are going slightly mad because you can’t follow what’s being said.

It isn’t true. You’re not mad and they were probably talking about the weather.

Hearing loss can be very gradual, and it’s not like turning the volume down on the radio. Certain frequencies become harder to hear than others. This is usually the higher pitched sounds so women’s and children’s voices can be more difficult to hear than men’s.

Because you can hear ok in certain situations you may feel that your hearing is fine. You may think it’s those around you who aren’t being clear.

This is why many people find that their friends or relatives began to point out that they are repeating themselves too much when you think they are mumbling, or complain that the TV is too loud when you think it’s just right.

Some speech sounds are softer than others. So ‘th’ ‘f’ ‘s’ ‘z’ and  ‘v’ are harder to hear than ‘t’ ‘ch’ ‘l’ and ‘u’. This makes is harder to hear some parts of words or sentences and not others. Depending on what’s being said and how much background noise there is you may be able to follow the conversation. Other times it will be harder, and this is difficult for those around you to understand. They may even joke that your hearing is selective with “you heard me then didn’t you?”

Many people, without realising, form their own coping mechanisms to hear better. If you have more trouble hearing someone with facial hair than someone who is clean shaven, you may be lip reading without even realising.

This is why you can’t hear people if they turn their head away or cover their mouth when speaking.

Difficulties in social situations can have a knock on effect on your confidence. You may begin to avoid people or struggle to keep up in meetings at work. Many people also find it harder to hear on the telephone.

If you have any concerns it’s important not to panic.  A visit to an audiologist can determine whether you do have hearing loss as well as what is causing it.  It’s important to mention any other symptoms such as recurring ear infections, dizziness, if you suffer from ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or if your ears feel blocked.

On average, people wait 10 years before taking action about their hearing loss. This causes greater isolation as well as stress.

Having a hearing aid can help you to feel connected again. The earlier you get help the easier it can be to adjust to your new hearing aid. This is because you get used to things being quiet, and the world is a noisy place.

You won’t be alone. According to Action on Hearing Loss, there are 11 million people in the UK who have a hearing loss, that’s 1 in 6 people.  Modern hearing aids are small and discrete. The old stigma around wearing hearing aids is slowly being erased. There are also plenty of listening devices such as amplified telephones that you can use to help you stay connected.

 

Author: Paul Harrison

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