Posted on Monday, April 22, 2013

Hearing Loss Symptoms

Hearing Loss symptoms aren't as obvious as when this woman holds a hand to her ears.

People with untreated hearing loss use a variety of coping strategies to compensate for their hearing deficit. Many of these habits can worsen the situation leading to significant communicative difficulties, depression, and delays in treatment. These habits are so widely used that they can be considered hearing loss symptoms.

Relying on a family member to convey, repeat, or interpret conversations can enable people with hearing loss to deny their disabling condition. In addition family members may become frustrated at the energy it takes to have a conversation, inhibiting relationships. Communication becomes less frequent and the content of conversations more simplistic. Eventually, conversations are initiated only when it is absolutely necessary, leading the hearing impaired to feel left out and ignored.

Cognitive Overload
Just as reading, “prtct yr hrng” requires more concentration than reading, “protect your hearing”, missing sounds require greater concentration from someone with hearing loss. People with hearing loss compensate for missing words by straining to focusing on sentence context and syntax. This exhausting analysis leads to cognitive overload. Some experts believe this stressful condition may be the reason for the dramatic increase in the likelihood someone with hearing loss will experience dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Lip Reading
Lip reading can be a supportive technique when used consciously by someone who has treated their hearing loss, but when used, consciously or unconsciously, by someone with untreated hearing loss it becomes a crutch that can stop them from recognizing or treating their condition. In addition to causing mental exhaustion or cognitive overload, only thirty percent of words can be identified with lip reading. Lip reading is a useful tool and can aid the hearing impaired with daily interactions, but it’s no substitute for hearing well.

Volume Manipulation
Hiring the television volume may seem like harmless habit, but it aids denial as the hearing impaired blames room acoustics, background noise, or speakers mumbling instead of recognizing and treating their condition. In addition, hiring the volume to uncomfortable levels can cause relationship stress and further isolation, as the hearing impaired may use a separate room so as not bother loved ones.

Social rules and conversation cues are an integral part of daily communications. Often the hearing impaired, in a misplaced attempt to make up for their disability, violates social etiquette by talking too loudly, and misread social cues by speaking out of turn or making inappropriate replies. If the hearing loss has not been identified, friends and family may mistakenly associate this behavior with aging or senility.

Concealing hearing loss by smiling, nodding, or pretending to understand what has been said may get someone over an awkward moment, but it does not help him or her deal with hearing loss. In fact, this pretense becomes a burden and may lead to depression, low self-esteem, and the avoidance of social situations.

As hearing loss becomes more severe, destructive coping strategies become less effective and added stress and anxiety causes the hearing impaired to withdrawal from the world. This isolation leads to severe depression and feelings of worthlessness as people fail to recognize their mistakes and concentration issues are the result of untreated hearing loss.

Individuals cope with hearing loss using a variety of destructive tactics that can further delay diagnosis and treatment and can even be dangerous. Hearing loss may be the first indication of serious auditory or neurologic disease. It is vitally important to see a physician or an audiologist as soon as these bad habits or any change in hearing is noticed. An audiological evaluation establishes a diagnosis allowing for appropriate treatment and a return to hearing health.

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!

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