Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hearing Loss Signs and Symptoms

Female who knows signs and symptoms of hearing loss covers ears as snow falls.

There are many things people do, like listening to an MP3 with ear-buds on and the volume high that harms hearing. In fact, the number one cause of hearing loss is noise, Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). But recognizing this type of hearing loss and others depends on knowing the signs and symptoms of hearing loss.

A recent People Hearing Better Poll shows some of the most common signs and symptoms of hearing loss and the percentage of our community surveyed that came to recognize their own hearing loss through these signs.

  • 53% I found myself often asking people to repeat themselves.
  • 41% I started to miss conversation cues at the office or at restaurants.
  • 29% A family member confronted me.
  • 29% I had a blocked or fuzzy feeling in my ears.
  • 18% I realized I couldn't hear the voices of some women and children clearly.
  • Although the last on this list inability to hear female or child voices is not highly ranked it is a very common sign of hearing loss. Females and children speak in a higher register, and recognizing these registers is an area of hearing that often experiences deterioration. If you consistently feel that women or children are mumbling around you, pay attention. This is a warning sign, but these high registers can also include other high pitched sounds like a phone ringing, a child's cry, or the trill of a bird.

    29% of respondents said they had a blocked or full feeling in their ear. This fullness is an easier way to determine hearing loss and can happen all at once, as in sudden sensorineural hearing loss, but can also be overlooked due to a cold, allergies, or some other condition that makes the fuzzy feeling seem routine.

    Consistently hiring the volume on the television to levels others find uncomfortable is another common symptom of hearing loss.

    A majority of our poll respondents 53% said they found themselves often asking people to repeat themselves. When this first begins to occur people often dismiss it as room acoustics, background noise, or others mumbling. That's one of the reason hearing loss takes so long to be recognized, because people tend to ignore these subtle signs. In addition, having to ask people to repeat things can be embarrassing. This discomfort leads people to stop asking for things to be repeated and to slowly withdraw from social situations rather than recognizing this symptom of hearing loss. If you find yourself missing parts of the conversation or responding inappropriately to things you misunderstand, it is time to see your audiologist.

    41% said they started to miss conversation cues at the office or at restaurants. An inability to understand in crowds like what people are saying in a crowded restaurant or room is one of the most frustrating things about hearing loss. It is also why many people begin to avoid socializing. This symptom of hearing loss, if left untreated, can cause withdraw and can lead to depression and isolation.

    The presence of whining, clicking or buzzing sound in the ears called tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss

    29% of respondents said that a family member confronted them. It might seem as if the person with hearing loss would be the first to recognize their condition, but quite often it is the person who has to repeat aspects of the conversation or has to deal with the television being up too loud that first notices the problem. It's important for family members to not allow those with hearing loss to rely too heavily on them for assistance. This keeps people with hearing loss from seeking help and can lead to depression. According to Dr. Claudia Dewane in her article Hearing Loss in Older Adults--Its Effect on Mental Health, "Hearing loss can create a psychological solitary confinement." This confinement can lead to feelings of depression that are quite often misconstrued, so that the cause--hearing loss, is not even recognized.

    Untreated hearing loss is tied to depression, lower quality of life, isolation, Alzheimer's, dementia, and loss of income, so it is important not only to protect hearing, but to correct hearing loss. Today's hearing aids are vastly improved over those of the past, and as Dr. Megan Nightingale of Peninsula Hearing points out, "Overall customer satisfaction with new hearing instruments nationally is 77%." That means chances are excellent that a person with hearing loss can live a fully engaged and happy life after correcting hearing loss. If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

    ©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
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