About 15% of adults in the United States have some level of hearing loss, and fully three-quarters of them could benefit from wearing hearing aids. However, many people are unaware they have hearing loss, while some feel a stigma about using assistive devices to hear.
It’s understandable, since one of the most common types of hearing loss is presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss. People may not want to concede that the effects of time are happening, while others may simply accept lost hearing as natural. After all, your brain adapts to hearing loss in subtle ways.
The best way to know the state of your hearing is to visit an ear care specialist like Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat. From hearing assessment to hearing aid fitting, Dr. Scott Bateman and his team are ready to help you.
Why hearing loss is hard to detect
While there are different types of hearing loss resulting from several causes, the most common form is due to the combined effects of aging and exposure to loud sounds. With this type of loss, there’s usually not a single, defining event that suddenly results in lost hearing. Instead, the cumulative effects build over years. Your hearing deteriorates slowly, and your brain adjusts along the way. There’s never a point where it seems like the “volume” was turned down.
However, because of that, hearing loss can create other gradual changes of which you might not be aware. When comprehending conversations becomes more difficult, you naturally begin to avoid situations where you don’t hear well. This can lead to increased social isolation and changes in the quality of your life as you lose out on interactions you once enjoyed.
5 signs you may need a hearing aid
Because changes in your hearing are gradual, it’s important to know and watch for the signs that your ears aren’t picking up all they once did. It isn’t always a volume issue. Understanding speech often depends on a narrow range of frequencies. That leads to the first of the five signs.
1. Everyone is mumbling
Speech definition comes from a small range of high-pitched sounds, such as those produced by the letters b, f, s, t, sh and th. The vowels contain lower-pitched sounds that are more easily heard, but without the higher sounds that define them into words, understanding speech becomes difficult. High frequency hearing is usually the first range to fail. You can still hear people, but you can’t understand them as well.
2. You begin to avoid noisy public places
A noisy restaurant may become a challenge, as the background sounds further mask those speech frequencies you need for comprehension. If you find yourself always seeking the quietest tables, you may be ready for hearing aids.
3. Telephones become harder to use
It’s no secret that telephone technology isn’t high fidelity. That’s improving with smart phones and digital signals, but it can still be difficult to hear on the phone when you have no visual clues like body language and lip reading. You may not even be aware you use these coping techniques.
4. Listening to music is less enjoyable
Any audio-only activity may lose its luster as your hearing falls off, including music, listening to the radio, or enjoying podcasts.
5. Social events become tiring
When social gatherings you once looked forward to now fill you with dread, it might be because of your hearing. When you go but come home feeling drained of energy, it may be due to the effort it takes to cope with hearing loss.
Healthy hearing is part of healthy living. Contact Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat by phone, at 307-672-0290, or online whenever you have concerns about your ears or your hearing. Schedule your appointment today.