Hearing loss is more common than most of us realize. Worldwide, 360 million people suffer from a hearing loss and 32 million of those are children. It can happen to anyone at any age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says, “By 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 will require hearing rehabilitation,” and that “over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.”
Why Is Untreated Hearing Loss So Common?
Hearing loss often sets in gradually and because of this, we tend to make unconscious adjustments in our lifestyle without realizing how much irreversible damage is happening in our brains.
Sadly, there is also a perceived stigma that is still attached to hearing loss, especially when it’s linked to aging. Real or not, it’s not often easy to admit to limitations, so we pretend we don’t have any rather than get help.
We all know or love someone with a hearing loss, so we can see firsthand how it affects the lives of others. That’s why it’s hard to see someone having difficulty hearing but doing nothing about it.
The treatment options for hearing loss, especially hearing aids, might make a person try to delay getting them.
They don’t want to be seen wearing them because they think the hearing aids still look like the hearing aids from decades ago, when this isn’t true – newer hearing aids are small and unobtrusive, and they can even fit right in the ear canal and become invisible to the eye.
What Are The Initial Signs of A Hearing Loss?
While you’d think hearing loss would be immediately obvious, this is often not the case. Below are some of the common signs to look out for:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Finding yourself saying “What?” all the time
- Straining to hear or follow conversations, especially if there is loud background noise
- Consonant sounds are hard to hear: “Did you say show or throw?”
- Missing “common” sounds (i.e., birdsong, leaves rustling, the hum of electricity, the blinker in the car, etc.)
- Difficulty with phone conversations
- Struggling to understand others, especially those with accents
How Can You Recognize Hearing Loss in a Loved One?
While it might be hard to discern hearing loss in its earliest stages, you’ll notice the following signs once it starts getting worse:
- They keep asking you to repeat yourself.
- They tell you you’re mumbling.
- They turn the radio, TV, etc. up louder than you’re comfortable with.
- Their responses don’t match the questions asked.
- They avoid or disengage/disappear from social situations because they are afraid of embarrassing themselves.
- They are unsure on their feet.
- Alarms don’t catch their attention.
What are The First Steps in Addressing Hearing Loss?
A hearing test is the best indicator of any hearing issues. We’ll do a physical exam of your ears and follow it with a hearing test using different tones and sounds to gather as much information as possible about your hearing ability.
If we find that your hearing is normal, we’ll keep the data so as to have a baseline we can measure any future hearing changes against.
If we find any hearing loss, we’ll offer treatment options that can restore part or all of your hearing – treatments that fit best with your lifestyle and hearing needs.
Why Annual Hearing Exams are Important
Just as regular physical exams are a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, regular hearing assessments maintain your hearing health.
Get regular hearing screenings to catch and treat potential issues early. We love to see our patients have the best hearing possible, and this is made possible with regular hearing checkups.
If you have any questions at all about hearing loss, or anything related to hearing, we’re here and happy to help. Contact us.