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Noticing changes in your hearing is important. Whether your hearing is changing slowly and gradually or a hearing change happens suddenly, it is important to respond to these changes when you first notice them and get a hearing test. A hearing test can help catch hearing issues when they are most easily treatable.
In hearing loss cases caused by infections or obstructions in the ear canal, early treatment can help restore hearing and prevent permanent damage. If a hearing issue is based in permanent hearing damage, early detection and treatment is the easiest time to treat hearing loss.
What Is a Change In Hearing?
A change in your hearing is whenever hearing becomes significantly harder for you, or you notice a change in the way familiar things sound. It is easiest to notice sudden changes in hearing – being unable to hear voices or intrusive ringing in the ears. While a dramatic change is most recognizable, subtler hearing changes are far more common, and just as important to have examined.
Your sense of hearing is always working – even when you sleep, your ears are still picking up sounds in your surroundings. This is amazing, but it can also make it difficult to notice slow changes in the way we hear. It can be difficult to recognize when we can’t hear something, or hard to determine when speech is muffled by our hearing rather than from the speaker.
Knowing tell-tale signs of subtle hearing changes can help you recognize when it is time to have your hearing checked. Here are a few things you should watch for:
Turning Up the Volume
Check your volume levels on your television, computer, car stereo and other audio devices. In general, are your listening levels set to the highest third of the volume limit or even turned all the way up? Cranked up volume, especially in the absence of competing noise, is an indicator you are dealing with hearing challenges.
Also take note when others comment that your listening volume is too loud for them, it may be the first sign that your hearing is having issues.
Asking For a Repeat
Do you often find yourself asking people to stop mumbling, speak up or repeat what they said? Of course, sometimes we need to ask people to speak louder or more clearly, but if you find yourself having to ask for clearer speech frequently, it is an indicator that the issue might be with your hearing. Trouble hearing high pitched voices, like children’s speech can be especially hard with hearing loss.
Gradual hearing loss means you aren’t getting the full range of sound information from a source. Voices can sound like voices, but speech becomes hard to comprehend sounding muted or muffled. If this is what speech sounds like to you, it is time to schedule a hearing exam.
Avoiding Social Settings
Social distancing aside, hearing loss can limit how we behave socially and keep you from enjoying your favorite activities. Do you find yourself reluctant to catch up with friends, listen to music or visit places that are noisy? The underlying cause of your decisions may rest with your hearing. Hearing loss makes it more confusing to be in public places. Concerts, sports games, parties, movies and restaurants can all become far less appealing when you aren’t able to follow a conversation or enjoy entertainment.
If you notice a drop off in your social interests, ask yourself if your hearing may be playing a role. Ignoring social changes can also make you vulnerable to social isolation, limited mobility, and other quality of life factors.
If you notice changes in how you hear, it is time to get a hearing test. Most hearing issues have the potential to worsen over time and to hold you back from fully engaging with others. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to health problems like increased risk of dementia and professional issues like lower wages. Fortunately, treatment can help you minimize health risks and improve your quality of life.
To access treatment, it is important to recognize and act on hearing changes. Even if it seems like your hearing is changing gradually, catching hearing loss early is the easiest way to treat it effectively. To schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test, contact us today!