May 6th, 2021 | GeneralHearing Loss | by Andreas Seelisch

Signs of Hearing Loss | Hearing Solutions Ontario

 

Every day most of us pass the time by enjoying music or watching TV, listening to the sounds of the world, or communicating and interacting with others. However, we often don’t realize how important our ability to hear is in our daily lives. Hearing helps us communicate and make sense of the world. For those who have difficulty hearing, communication and other daily tasks can become quite a struggle.

The term for hearing loss is presbycusis, and the condition will typically run in the family.[1] Gradual changes within the ear can cause loss of hearing but it can also be caused by exposure to loud noises as well as certain types of medications and health conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure. 

It’s fairly normal for hearing loss to slip under the radar, especially for those who live by themselves. This is because your family are often the ones who notice when something is amiss with your hearing. 

Better Hearing Month — Learn the Signs of Hearing Loss

That’s why every year, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) dedicates the month of May to raising awareness about communication health. This month is known as “Better Hearing Month,” and it was created to highlight “the importance of early detection and intervention of communication disorders” so that all members of our society can live well.[2]

In keeping with the theme of the month, we’ll be going over the signs of hearing loss and how you can detect it in yourself or your loved ones. Hearing loss occurs gradually and can be hard to detect, especially for individuals who live on their own.

Most people will experience hearing loss as they get older. In fact, 54% of Canadians aged 40-79 (8.2 million) have at least mild hearing loss.[3] That means nearly half of everyone that you see each day. Because it is gradual, it won’t be obvious when your hearing changes.

However, there are signs that you can watch out for to recognize hearing loss in yourself or loved ones. By learning the signs, you can address hearing loss more quickly and take the necessary steps to schedule a hearing test and receive treatment.

Early Signs of Hearing Loss

The following are some common signs of hearing loss:

In social settings or conversation…

  • You might start to believe that everyone around you is mumbling or not speaking clearly enough to hear them. When hearing loss starts to occur, you lose the ability to hear certain sounds. This is why you can only hear parts of words rather than the whole word. This might be more noticeable when speaking with women or children, as they tend to have softer, higher-pitched voices, and these types of sounds are usually the first sounds you lose the ability to hear. 
  • You might find it more difficult to hear in restaurants or other public settings with a lot of background noise. These extra sounds will make it more difficult for you to focus on an individual voice and hold a conversation. 
  • Conversations start to become more exhausting. When it’s difficult to hear others, it takes more cognitive energy to hear. This can be mentally draining, especially in settings like conferences or malls where you need to use more concentration.
  • You find yourself constantly needing to ask others to repeat themselves.[4]

If you feel… 

  • Worried or stressed from trying to figure out what others are saying.
  • Become annoyed at others because you cannot hear or understand them.
  • Frightened, nervous, or embarrassed to meet new people because of misunderstanding what they are saying.
  • Slow to respond to others or disinterested in what they are saying.
  • Feel withdrawn from social situations.[4]

Do you medically…

  • Have a family medical history of hearing issues or hearing loss?
  • Need to be prescribed certain medications (ototoxic drugs) which can harm the hearing system?[4]

Other signs and symptoms can include…

  • Hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring in one or both ears. This is a sign of tinnitus.
  • Needing to turn up the volume when you listen to the radio or television to a level that may be uncomfortable to others.[5]

Are you, or a loved one, experiencing any of these symptoms?

If any of these symptoms sound familiar or are feelings you have experienced, then it could be time for you, or a loved one, to see a hearing healthcare provider. Hearing loss can get in the way of life. It can affect your social, economic, as well as mental health. Life should be enjoyable no matter what age you are, and you shouldn’t let hearing loss limit your lifestyle.

Schedule Your Appointment with Our Hearing Specialists

The best way to determine whether you or a loved one, is experiencing hearing loss is to schedule a hearing test with your healthcare provider. The sooner you can get help or treatment when experiencing these first signs of hearing loss, the better.

Untreated hearing loss can be linked to depression, isolation, anxiety, loss of intimacy, cognitive decline, dementia, and an increased risk of falling, so it is recommended that a yearly hearing test be incorporated into your annual health checkups starting at the age of 50. 

During your hearing test, our hearing specialists can determine if your hearing loss symptoms are caused by other health conditions or something else entirely, such as excess earwax. Hearing care professionals are experts at conducting hearing evaluations which will include an examination of your lifestyle, health history, a hearing test, and a review of your results on an audiogram. Should hearing aids be in order, they will also present you with a recommendation while taking into consideration the hearing aid style, size, colour preferences, desired listening lifestyle, and your budget.

For more information about hearing loss, or to book your free hearing test, call Hearing Solutions at 1-888-811-9799 or contact us here.

References:

[1] Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis). (2021). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/presbycusis#:%7E:text=Age%2Drelated%20hearing%20loss%20

[2] Speech & Hearing Month. (2021, April 7). Speech-Language & Audiology Canada. https://www.sac-oac.ca/news-events/speech-hearing-month

[3] Statistics Canada. (2019, August). Unperceived hearing loss among Canadians aged 40 to 79. Pamela L. Ramage-Morin, Rex Banks, Dany Pineault and Maha Atrach. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2019008/article/00002-eng.htm

[4] Common Signs of Hearing Loss. (2021). Hearing Solutions. https://www.hearingsolutions.ca/common-signs-of-hearing-loss/

[5] 8 Hearing Loss Warning Signs to Remember During Seniors’ Month. (2015, January 6). Hearing Aid Service. https://www.hearingsolutions.ca/8-hearing-loss-warning-signs-to-remember-during-seniors-month/

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