Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Mumbler, Low-Talker, or Hearing Loss?

Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka

There are instances in life where everyone's hearing is going to be inadequate. For example, if you're at a loud venue, concert or club, have a bad cold, or are engaging with someone who might not talk loud enough to be heard. So how can you tell if your trouble with hearing is due to a mumbler, low-talker, or is something more serious like hearing loss?

The above video is a running joke in a popular movie, but people who mumble can be a challenge to hear. Difficulty hearing people makes communication and socialization harder. Finding out if you have hearing loss needs to be a priority. An annual visit to your hearing health professional is the best way to determine if you have hearing loss. Below are symptoms of hearing loss that you need to address with your hearing health professional.

Tinnitus-- a ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be high pitched. It is sometimes accompanied by vertigo. Tinnitus' varies in intensity and can be intermittent or constant. The degree of loudness and even the type of sound is particular to each person. Some tinnitus sufferers describe the noise as being as piercing and sharp as the signal used in the emergency broadcast system and can be caused by a number of factors

Inability to Hear Female or Child Voices--Females and children speak in a higher register, so one of the first signs of hearing loss is the inability to hear these higher pitched voices. If you or your loved one consistently feels that women or children are mumbling around you, see an audiologist.

Television Volume--Needing to turn the television up louder than others say is comfortable can be a sign of hearing loss. This is also the easiest sign to ignore as the person who does this is more likely to blame the television than their own ears.

Inability to Hear High-Pitched Sounds--a phone ringing, a child's cry, the trill of a bird are all high-pitched sounds that can begin to fade as a person develops hearing loss. Missing phone calls or struggling to hear any high-pitched sounds is an immediate warning sign of hearing loss.

Asking to Have Things Repeated--Having to frequently ask people to repeat things can be embarrassing. This discomfort means that people can ignore this sign of hearing loss or try to cover it up. If your loved one asks you to repeat parts of conversations or responds inappropriately to things said, it might not be a low-talker--like in the below video--it might be you.

Inability to Understand in Crowds--Not being able to hear 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 withdraw can lead to depression and isolation.

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 goes recognized.

Forgetfulness--Research done on Alzheimer's and dementia show that there is an increased risk of these conditions if a person is suffering from hearing loss. According to Dr. Jonathan Peelle that's because, “Even subtle changes in hearing appear to have an impact on the brain.” This is yet another important reason to familiarize yourself and loved ones with the top signs of 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!

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