Hearing loss has been called an “invisible” health condition, as there are no outward physical signs associated with it. Hearing loss can occur gradually, often making it difficult to be aware of hearing loss if and when it occurs. Hearing loss negatively affects quality of life, the ability to communicate with others, and the awareness of one’s environment.
You could have hearing loss if:
- Others tell you that you don’t seem to hear very well
- Others say you listen to the television or radio too loudly
- You have to ask others to repeat themselves or have to strain to understand a conversation
- You have to ask others about the details of the meeting you just attended
- You have difficulty hearing water boiling when you are in the kitchen
- You have difficulty pinpointing where an object is (e.g. an alarm clock or a telephone) from the noise it makes
- You have trouble hearing the speech of soft talkers, women, and/or children
- You have trouble following a conversation if more than one person is talking or if there is background noise
- You have trouble understanding speech at the movies or theatre, church, or other social settings
- You can tell that someone is talking but it seems that his or her speech is mumbled or not clear, especially in noisy environments
- You cannot hear the telephone ring or have difficulty conversing on the telephone
- You notice that when people look directly at you while talking, it is easier to understand their speech
- You have become more irritable, frustrated, or withdrawn in social settings
- You have made statements such as “I hear well enough most of the time,” or “My hearing loss is not bothersome to me”
If you encounter any of these troubles more than occasionally, consider speaking with an audiologist about your options to combat your listening difficulties. People with hearing difficulties often wait more than seven years before actually doing something about their hearing loss. But earlier diagnosis of hearing loss and treatment usually leads to the most successful outcomes.
For more information on the signs and effects of hearing loss, and/or the benefits of treatment, check out the following information provided by the Hearing Industries Association.