African Doctor Examining Male Patient's Ear With Otoscope

Identifying the Signs of Hearing Loss

It might seem odd to you that someone could have hearing loss and not realize it. Indeed, the more advanced cases are impossible to ignore. When others expect you to communicate and listen to what they have to say, a serious gap in hearing ability can be obvious to all involved. Those who have severe or profound hearing loss will likely need assistive technology to navigate the world and to perform basic tasks. Although those with a high degree of hearing loss will likely have these clear signs, those with moderate or mild cases of hearing loss might not realize how little they are able to hear. For many people, the process of losing hearing ability is gradual, sometimes taking place over the course of years. When hearing is lost at such a slow rate, a person might not realize it is happening at all. Other people develop mental blocks that are a coping strategy to avoid dealing with the reality of hearing loss. They might know on some level that hearing has become difficult, but they also might not be able to admit that condition to themselves. Rather than facing the reality of hearing loss, they might convince themselves that nothing is wrong. For those who are unaware or unable to acknowledge hearing loss, the following are some common signs. Staying aware of these signs of hearing loss makes it possible to get treatment as soon as possible, so let’s take a closer look.

Communication Issues

When a person has hearing loss, communication is one of the first and clearest signs. You might notice this person asking others to repeat themselves, speak more loudly, come closer to talk, or simply saying “What?” throughout the day. The person asking for these requests might not even realize how often they are doing it. Of course, we all have times when we need others to repeat themselves, such as in a noisy environment or when a competing sound occurs. However, if you notice that your loved one is repeatedly asking for assistance or has trouble in sonic environments where others are able to hear, you might be witnessing a sign of hearing loss.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

Those who have hearing loss are in a constant struggle to deal with the sounding world. Rather than hearing a complete set of sounds that translates into language and other important sensory information, they receive only fragments. Some people compare the experience of hearing loss to trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces. That mental process can be quite exhausting, and the experience of fatigue can extend into other domains of life, as well. If your loved one is experiencing fatigue, that feeling can come from a variety of causes, but hearing loss is one possibility.

Social Isolation

When a person engages in the confusing, frustrating, embarrassing, and anxiety-inducing process of trying to understand others without all the necessary information, that experience can be quite disheartening. Some people find that the process of trying to communicate is difficult enough to make them avoid communication altogether. Rather than entering the process of guess-and-check with what they hear and potential replies, they might prefer to avoid communication altogether. Those who have trouble hearing tend to isolate themselves from social situations, including parties, family gatherings, and other events that expect communication to occur. They might even start to avoid running errands, getting groceries, and having other social interactions that require communication with strangers. Although social isolation can happen for many reasons, hearing loss is one of the potential causes, making it a useful warning sign.

If any of these warning signs are present in your loved one, they do not constitute a diagnosis of hearing loss. The only way to diagnose hearing loss is with an exam proctored by a hearing health professional. Why not take this opportunity to schedule a hearing test with one of our professionals. When we discover the extent and nature of your loved one’s hearing ability, we can take steps right away to connect with treatment, if necessary. Getting treatment is the only way to improve communication ability and to relieve some of the other associated symptoms of hearing loss, so don’t delay! Contact us today.