How to Identify Changes in Your Hearing
Changes in Hearing
Our sense of hearing is an invisible one, but it is always on. That’s why even in our deepest sleep, we’re able to wake up to that pesky alarm clock! Hearing helps to situate us within our environment, keeps us safe and aware, and connects us to the world around us through communication with our loved ones.
Changes in hearing are normal. There are many factors that affect our hearing, and approximately 20% of Americans experience some degree of hearing loss. For older Americans, one-third of people over the age 65 experience hearing loss, while that number rises to 50% of those over age 75.
At the same time, hearing loss may affect anyone at any age – and with the ubiquity of personal electronic devices, we’ve seen a rise on hearing loss in younger people as well.
Hearing loss is treatable, but in order to treat it, we must first recognize its presence. Changes in hearing usually happen subtly and gradually. Here are some tell-tale signs of hearing loss.
Volume up Too High
The volume of sounds is one way to recognize that there are changes in your hearing. If you’ve been turning up the volume on your TV, radio, or car stereo, and you’ve found that your family members have asked you to turn it down, you may be experiencing some changes in your hearing.
With hearing loss, the brain struggles to fill in gaps from audio signals. People who are experiencing changes in their hearing may struggle to hear sounds clearly and thus believe that turning up the volume will help them hear more clearly.
Asking People to Repeat Themselves
Speech recognition is a big challenge for people who experience hearing loss. Hearing loss interferes with our abilities to anticipate speech patterns and confuses sounds in speech such as “p” and “b” or “s” and “th.”
As a result, people who experience hearing loss will ask others to repeat themselves often. It may also sound like people are mumbling when they speak, so you may find yourself asking people to speak up. Over time, these accumulated experiences may lead to frustration in your relationships.
Some configurations of hearing loss affect the frequencies at which we are able to hear. The voices of women and children tend to have higher frequencies, so if you’re experiencing difficulty hearing your grandchildren or the women in your life – it may be hearing loss.
Avoiding Social Situations
Just as speech recognition is difficult with hearing loss, imagine the compounded difficulties of being in social settings with multiple speakers. Cross-conversation and parties are particularly challenging for people who experience hearing loss.
There are times when you may find yourself sitting in a group of friends, with many people talking, and you find it difficult to follow the conversation. With hearing loss, the brain is already struggling to make sense of inconsistent audio signals – so when there are multiple external noise stimuli happening at once, it becomes difficult to keep track.
Untreated hearing loss tends to lead to social withdrawal and isolation. Rather than facing a group of people speaking at once, it is easier to avoid all together. This is one of the most alienating symptoms of hearing loss – often times leading to anxiety, stress, and depression.
What to Do
There are many other subtle signs of hearing loss, which you may find here.
If you believe you are experiencing changes in your hearing and potential hearing loss, it is important to contact us at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center. We provide comprehensive hearing evaluations to determine your current hearing abilities, and we offer solutions to hearing loss that meet your specific needs.
To schedule a free hearing test, give us a call at 941-922-5894
or visit us at 2170 Gulf Gate Drive Sarasota, FL.