Per healthcare nonprofit Mayo Clinic, approximately one-third of people in the U.S. aged 65-75 have experienced some degree of hearing loss. That increases to approximately 50 percent amongst individuals aged 75 and older. While some of these instances of impairment may be unavoidable, it’s actually quite possible to manage, mitigate, and even treat the affliction.
It’s all about catching it as early as possible. To that end, it’s important that you train yourself to recognize the subtle signs of impending hearing impairment. Although these can manifest at any age, they typically occur most frequently in middle aged individuals.
Here are a few indicators that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
“Can You Repeat That, Please?”
When in a group setting, do you find yourself constantly asking people to repeat themselves? Are you starting to have difficulty distinguishing one person’s voice from another when there’s a significant amount of background noise? Does hearing several people talking at once make you feel confused or overwhelmed?
While there are a number of mental illnesses that can cause this, such as adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), there’s also a very good chance that your hearing is starting to go.
Everything Needs To Be Louder
You used to be able to hear your television just fine. Lately, though, you’re forced to crank up the volume if you want to make out anything the characters are saying on-screen. Sometimes, even that doesn’t work, and you’re forced to rely on subtitles instead.
You may also have friends and loved ones telling you repeatedly that you’re too loud, indicating that this is unusual behavior for you.
Social Outings Drain You of Life
Generally speaking, people with an introverted personality type tend to quickly grow tired after too much socializing. That’s natural. They need their alone time to recharge.
This sort of exhaustion is different, though. More mentally draining. Almost crippling. This, notes online health resource site Web MD, could very well indicate that your hearing is beginning to fade.
When you cannot hear someone speaking, your brain works double-time to try to interpret their speech, filling in whatever gaps it can. Not surprisingly, this can severely wear on a person, leaving them burnt out even after small gatherings.
“Huh? Yeah, I Was Paying Attention. What Were You Saying?”
People are increasingly sounding muffled and hard to hear. More and more, you find yourself using small “tricks” to keep up. Lip reading, searching for context clues, or moving almost uncomfortably close.
Even then, you find yourself missing key information, frequently requiring people to repeat themselves.
The signs of impending hearing loss are often subtle, but they’re noticeable if you know what to look for. If you read any of the points above and thought they sounded familiar, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist now. That way, you can potentially prevent further damage — and potentially only suffer hearing impairment rather than total hearing loss.
About the Author:
Dr. Pauline Dinnauer, AuD is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing and hearing aid consultation across the US.