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23 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

The first signs of hearing loss aren’t always obvious. Because hearing loss is usually a gradual process, you may become accustomed to compensating for the loss and not realize how far it has progressed. Even your physician is unlikely to detect changes in your hearing—according to the Better Hearing Institute, only 13% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss during physical examinations.

It’s often friends and family who detect the first signs of hearing loss rather than the person who is experiencing it. They are the people who see you day in and day out, and will most easily notice any social, emotional, or medical changes that go hand-in-hand with hearing loss.

And while it’s great to have your loved ones looking out for your best interests, it’s also important for you to be just as vigilant about watching for signs of hearing loss. After all, early detection is key. If you notice any of these signs, either repeatedly or in combination, you should schedule a hearing screening at your nearest Beltone Hearing Care Center.

You may have hearing loss if you:

  • Have difficulty hearing or understanding women and children (the first sign of hearing loss is often the loss of high-frequency hearing)
  • Listen to the TV/radio at a higher volume than normal
  • Ask people to repeat themselves, or say “what?” or “pardon me?” often
  • Have trouble understanding what people are saying, particularly in noisy situations such as crowded rooms, shopping malls, or busy restaurants
  • Have trouble hearing on the telephone
  • Avoid social situations
  • Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations
  • Favor one ear over the other
  • Have ringing in your ears

Hearing loss can also take a toll on your emotional well-being. The psychological effects of hearing loss include:

  • A sense of threatened security (Will I be able to hear a fire alarm? A car horn?)
  • Withdrawal from social situations you once enjoyed
  • Distancing yourself from family and friends because it’s too difficult to participate in the conversation
  • Fear of meeting new people
  • Embarrassment from misunderstanding what others are saying
  • Becoming annoyed with people when you can’t understand them
  • Fatigue (the struggle to hear and understand can be exhausting)
  • Feeling dull and disinterested, or not quite “with it”

As well, you have a higher risk of hearing loss if you:

  • Use certain ototoxic drugs
  • Have a family history of hearing loss
  • Have ear trauma
  • Have diabetes, heart, circulation, or thyroid problems
  • Have been exposed to very loud noises on a regular basis
  • Have been exposed to a single explosive noise

All of these signs are reliable indicators of hearing loss, but the only way to know for sure is to have your hearing tested by a qualified professional. The hearing specialists at your Beltone Hearing Care Center use state-of-the-art screenings to accurately assess your hearing levels. It’s easy, comfortable and thorough, and best of all, it’s free!

Ken LaFerle, Au.D.
Ken is Beltone's Director of Educational Services and has been "bleeding Beltone Blue" for the last 26 years. He has been working in the hearing industry for the last 31 years and thoroughly enjoys the hearing care field and is looking forward to sharing his thoughts and experiences on the blog. More about Ken

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