How to Identify the First Signs of Hearing Loss

Frustrated mature couple

You may have trouble distinguishing individual words and you frequently ask people to repeat themselves.

Often times, we don't realize we have hearing loss. Even with a strong suspicion, most choose not to admit that there's a problem. Both scenarios prevent people from taking action against hearing loss. Knowing the signs of this condition may be all you need to take the first steps to combating it. Look over these hearing loss indicators - maybe you will recognize something and schedule an appointment for a hearing test:

People complain about the TV being too loud
Whether it's the TV, radio or computer speakers, those with hearing loss tend to crank up the volume beyond a level comfortable for those with adequate or "normal" hearing. Though every digital device has different volume settings, it is a safe bet that when someone has to shout to be heard, the volume is too high. If you find that you watch TV alone, the wife or kids frequently ask you to turn down the TV, or you think family members keep it too low to hear properly, this may be one of the first signs of hearing loss.

Similarly, those suffering hearing loss often have trouble hearing movies at the theater. It is common that they also do not realize the true source of their difficulty. In these venues, the speakers are usually loud enough for an entire room of people to hear just fine. If you experience difficulty following what the characters are saying, it's a good sign that it's a result of hearing loss. It follows too that if you are asking your movie going companion to repeat the dialog, you have a hearing problem. It is a confusing sensation when you can hear but you can't understand.

What did you say? Pardon me? I'm sorry; could you repeat that?
People suffering hearing loss frequently use these words if they haven't received the help they need. This inability to understand what your friends and family members are saying goes beyond just the volume of their voice. The real problem lies in your trouble distinguishing their words. To the sufferer, speech may sound muffled, but logically they realize that the whole world is not mumbling. Understanding is a greater challenge when background noises are present such as a trade show floor, a lively dinner party conversation, eating in an average restaurant and especially at clubs or parties.

It gets annoying and embarrassing constantly asking people to repeat themselves. In fact, this issue may cause those with hearing loss to frequently withdraw from conversations or avoid social interactions altogether. If this problem persists long enough, they may not even realize they're isolating themselves. Take time to evaluate whether this has become a pattern in your life.

You didn't hear the siren until it was almost on top of you
A typical siren is 120 decibels to be exact. Of course, it's necessary to have a blaring siren when a first responder needs motorists to pull over - emergency vehicles were designed this way. Between construction work, the car radio, honking horns and whizzing vehicles, the roadway, perhaps your daily commute presents a cacophony of distracting sounds. Someone with "normal" hearing, has no problem recognizing an approaching ambulance. However, someone suffering hearing loss may miss even these very loud signals. 

Hearing loss not only affects your quality of life, but it's also dangerous. For example, imagine that you're walking across the street, but you can't hear an oncoming bicyclist until it's too late. Both you and the rider could receive serious injuries. We don't realize all the ways our hearing keeps us from harm. It's crucial to know the first signs of hearing loss so you can take action as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.

If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.

Knowing the signs of hearing loss may be all you need to take the first steps to combating it.