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Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Is My Hearing Changing?

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American society, in general, is very open to differences. We understand people have different preferences in ice cream, different fashions, different abilities. Not everyone can be a baseball star. But we're not always sure how to comprehend the differences we can't see, like changes in our ability to hear. Thankfully, there are actually some pretty easy ways to determine changes in your hearing.

Changes in your hearing happen gradually, so much so that people are often unaware of it happening. The sounds that you could once hear simply fade to the point you are no longer recognize that you're NOT hearing them. So when you can no longer hear the fan in your home or your refrigerator humming in the background, you don't even realize it. For the person with unrecognized changes in hearing, those sounds become as good as invisible. Often changes in your hearing become apparent when interacting with other people, as Jennifer Krause of Healthy Hearing explains in this video:

Listening when other people say things like, "Wow, that television is up so high" or "This is the third time I asked you" is one of the easiest ways to recognize changes in your hearing. Here are a few more:

  • Hearing a ringing or buzzing in your ears even when there is no sound source present, in other words it's just in your ears, is called tinnitus. And this is often a symptom of hearing loss.
  • People often lose the ability to hear higher registers first. Women and children's voices tend to be higher. So if you've noticed that the women and children in your life seem to be mumbling, have your hearing checked.
  • Having trouble hearing people on the phone, turning the cell phone volume all the way up, pressing the cell phone to your ear are all signs that your hearing ability has changed. Getting support for changes in your hearing is smart. Your hearing helps support whole body health and certain brain functions.
  • Changes in hearing are very subtle, so it's those times where we experience a different environment that often point them out to us. If during the presence of background noise, say at a restaurant or work environment, you find yourself missing parts of the conversation or responding inappropriately to things you misunderstand, this is a sign your hearing has shifted.
  • Although it seems wrong, if some sounds seem too loud this may be a sign of hearing loss. This happens because, as we explained earlier, certain sounds become invisible when you have hearing loss, because you don't notice them you can be startled by sounds you can hear. So it's not the silence you've noticed, but the return of sound.
  • Okay, this is going to sound flip, sorry, but you can tell if your hearing has changed by having a hearing health checkup. It seems so obvious, but people often forget that they need to have their hearing checked annually. Your ears will thank you for it! Or, at least, they'll stop giving you the silent treatment.
  • 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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