Hearing loss can be so gradual, you might not even notice. Hearing loss can progress slowly over time, especially if you are experiencing the subtle changes of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), one of the most common health conditions affecting us as we grow older. You may experience hearing difficulty in noisy situations, like restaurants or social gatherings, but hear well enough in quieter settings. To cope with hearing difficulties, you may unconsciously adjust the activities you enjoy or the social interactions that keep you engaged in everyday life.
Hearing loss disrupts daily life
It’s understandable that you may not be sure that you have a hearing problem. If you are experiencing any of the following situations, a check-up with a hearing care professional can start you on the path to better hearing.
Everyone is mumbling:
Does it seem that people, especially women and children, speak too softly or fail to enunciate words? Are you constantly asking people to repeat? When you have hearing loss, your inability to hear certain sounds makes some words sound muttered or unclear.
Conversations are exhausting:
When you're straining to hear what's being said, conversations can be tiring and frustrating. You may find that you’re exhausted at the end of the day, or the end of the meeting at work.
Restaurants aren’t fun anymore:
The inability to hear in restaurants is the number-one complaint of people with hearing loss. Noisy conditions - dishes clanking, conversations at surrounding tables and background music - can make it difficult to follow the conversation.
Socializing is too much work:
People chatting in groups, music in the background and other competing sounds can make social gatherings with family and friends stressful and exhausting. It’s simply easier for you to “opt out” of the fun or leave get-togethers early.
Telephone conversations are difficult:
When you talk on the phone, you can’t see a person’s facial expression or read lips - visual cues that help you fill in the words you miss in spoken conversation.
Hearing loss takes an emotional toll on everyone
Studies show that hearing loss can negatively impact you and your family, friends, co-workers and the other people you interact with on a regular basis. Do these situations sound familiar?
The volume is too loud:
Watching TV is a battleground. There’s no comfortable sound level that works for all. When you listen to music or the radio, your family and friends complain that the volume too loud.
Your ears are buzzing:
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is often an early sign of hearing loss. You may be experiencing it as a slight annoyance or it may make it difficult for you to concentrate, sleep or work. Many people with tinnitus, up to 90 percent, have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss
You avoid situations where you have to communicate with others, at home, at work and in social situations. You’re embarrassed and hesitate to join in the conversation because you may not understand what is being said.
Your balance is impaired:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that even a mild level of hearing loss tripled the risk of an accidental fall. Hearing loss might also be an early symptom of an underlying condition that is affecting your balance.
You feel depressed, distracted, bored:
Studies have shown that the risk of cognitive decline is accelerated for the people who have hearing loss and don’t use hearing aids. When you have hearing loss, you may no longer engage in social situations, one of the primary ways to stimulate your brain and slow down cognitive decline.
Schedule a hearing check-up
Do you recognize yourself in any of the ten signs of hearing loss? If you think you have a hearing problem, the most important step you can take is to seek professional advice. A simple, painless hearing evaluation can get you on the path to better hearing. If a hearing loss is detected, your hearing care professional will help you choose from a range of modern, discreet hearing aids that will help you hear better and improve your overall quality of life.
To find your local participating clinic, please visit https://www.campaignforbetterhearing.org/about#Go-to-campaign.