Hearing loss often takes years to manifest. At first you may feel like something is amiss during conversations; a missing stray word here and there. Over time the gaps in conversations may grow larger as you are no longer able to hear much of what is being said. At first you may dismiss the nagging feeling that something is wrong. You may blame excessive earwax, or simply water stuck in your ears from your last shower. It may take you anywhere between 6 to 10 years before you finally seek treatment for hearing loss.
It is important to remember that hearing loss is an irreversible condition, which is why the earlier you seek treatment for it, the better. There are various early signs of hearing loss you can watch out for to detect and treat it in a timely manner. Loss of hearing doesn’t only affect your ears; it also affects your sense of balance as well as your physical, cognitive, and psychological health.
The most common telltale sign of hearing loss is being unable to hear sounds that were previously audible to you, such as the doorbell or phone ringing. You may also have trouble hearing speech sounds during conversations with your friends, colleagues or family members. This often results in your asking them to repeat what they just said, or using words like “what?” or “huh?” during conversations.
If you have unidentified hearing loss, your family and friends may notice it before you do. They may constantly ask you to turn down the volume on your television or your personal audio device. They may also tell you directly that you are having hearing problems. You may have trouble hearing what others are saying, and may need to see their face in order to read their lips. Certain sounds may be harder to hear than others, such as high pitched sounds like that of children or birds.
Another problem of having hearing loss that sometimes it may not feel like loss of hearing, but rather the inability to identify the source where the sound is coming from. This is unfortunately, also another sign of hearing loss.
If you have hearing loss, you may notice that you slowly start avoiding social gatherings since you can no longer follow conversations. People may even start avoiding you at parties since they constantly have to repeat themselves, or need to yell or wave frantically in order to gain your attention. You may have trouble hearing people talk at restaurants where there is background music present. Other common signs of hearing loss include a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears in the absence of any external stimuli (also known as tinnitus).
In case some or all of the above symptoms appeared frightfully familiar to what you go through on a daily basis, it may be time to get your hearing examined by a hearing care professional. Hearing loss is best treated at its earliest, since the worse your hearing gets, the harder it can be to treat it. In case you or a loved one suspects that they have hearing loss, consult an audiologist today.
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