Don’t Ignore These Nine Signs of Hearing Loss!

By on April 12, 2018

By Dave Prahl—

Hearing loss is estimated to affect 15 percent of American adults, accounting for more than 37.5 million people. Yet, most people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids don’t even bother getting their hearing checked. Perhaps the reason is that many people with hearing loss don’t realize they have it. If left untreated hearing loss can have devastating effects on your physical health, mental wellbeing, personal relationships, and even your career.

So, how can you tell if you have hearing loss? While only a licensed hearing care professional can properly diagnose it, there are several signs, ranging from the obvious to the more obscure, that can indicate whether your hearing is damaged, or may be in the future. The following are nine signs that you may have hearing loss and should seek appropriate treatment:

  1. Difficulty hearing: The most obvious sign of hearing loss is simply having difficulty hearing what other people say. You may find yourself asking others to repeat themselves, struggling to hear phone callers, or think that everyone is mumbling. You might also notice that you don’t notice sounds you used to hear like birds singing, the turn signal in the car, or a running faucet.
  1. People complain you have the TV too loud: If you don’t notice hearing loss yourself, your family and friends are likely to be the first to observe it in your everyday habits. For instance, they might ask you to turn down the volume when you’re watching TV or tell you the car radio is so loud it’s hurting their ears. 
  1. You skip social gatherings: Being around other people can be stressful if you constantly struggle to hear or ask your friends to repeat themselves. If you find yourself purposely staying home to avoid such embarrassment in social situations, your hearing loss may be getting out of hand.
  1. Other family members have hearing loss: Hearing loss doesn’t just come from noise exposure or old age—it can also be passed down genetically. If your parents or other close family members have hearing loss, you may be susceptible as well.
  1. You have a medical condition that leads to hearing loss: There are several illnesses in which hearing loss is either a symptom or outcome. These conditions are known as comorbidities and include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and thyroid disease.
  1. You take ototoxic medication: Certain drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, are known to be damaging to your ears. Make sure you discuss the risks to your hearing with your physician and a hearing care professional if you take any of the following ototoxic drugs:
  • Large doses of aspirin or other painkillers
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, such as naproxen and ibuprofen 
  • Diuretics used to treat high blood pressure, like furosemide and bumetanide
  • Chemotherapy and other drugs used to treat cancer 
  • Certain antibiotics including gentamicin, streptomycin, and neomycin
  1. You work in a loud environment: Jobs like construction, farming, manufacturing, transportation, the military, and landscaping all expose employees to potentially dangerous noise levels. If you work or have previously worked in one of these fields, you may be more likely to have hearing loss.
  1. Your hobbies expose you to excessive noise: Whether you like going to rock concerts, boating, hunting, or riding a motorcycle, your passions can be harmful to your hearing. Participating in such activities without proper ear protection can result in hearing damage.
  1. You hear ringing in your ears most or all the time: Or a buzzing, humming, whistling or similar sound without an external source. Such noises are signs of tinnitus, which often occurs alongside hearing loss. Since tinnitus is most commonly caused by exposure to excessive noise, its presence can also be a sign of hearing loss.

Start your journey to better hearing

If any of the above apply to you, then it’s in your best interests to get your hearing checked as soon as possible. Such hearing tests are available for little or no cost, depending on your insurance plan. Once evaluated by a hearing care professional, you can learn the extent of your hearing loss and start the best course of treatment. 

Fortunately, with today’s advanced hearing technology, there are a wide variety of options tailored to fit your lifestyle. Much more appealing than the large hearing aids of yesterday, today’s devices provide functional features like direct streaming of music, phone calls, and TV, while reducing background noise to make sure you hear what’s most important. Not only are they more comfortable to wear all day, they are also smaller and more discreet, and some models are almost invisible. 

Given all that you miss when you have hearing loss, and everything today’s hearing aids can do, there’s no reason to pretend hearing loss isn’t a problem. After all, the longer you put it off, the worse your hearing may become. So, what are you waiting for? Find a hearing care professional who can diagnose and treat your hearing today!

 

Dave Prahl CHID is a Technical Specialist for Sivantos, Inc. He is responsible for training dispensers in various locations across the US, on a wide variety of hands-on in office hearing instrument fitting services. He also provides remote shell/mold fitting consultation and technical support for customers. Areas of expertise include hearing aid manufacturing processes, ear mold impression taking, instant ear mold fabrication, as well as in office shell/mold modification and repair.

Dave has nearly 30 years ITE manufacturing and management experience with Rexton, Miracle Ear, and Sivantos (then Siemens Hearing Instruments). Customer training forums include; in office, VA hospitals, state colleges, International Hearing Society, state conventions, hearing expos, AAA, webinars and more. In addition, stemming from his work experience in machining, plumbing and mechanics, he has helped engineer many of yesterday and today’s shell/mold manufacturing processes and products. In 2006 Dave became a Certified Hearing Instrument Dispenser in the state of MN where he also has served as a proctor for the HID exam.

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One Comment

  1. Deb Pearl

    April 18, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I didn’t know that hearing loss could be passed down genetically. I know that there is some hearing loss in my family. I will have to get checked to see if my hearing is ok. Thank you for the information about hearing loss.

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Don’t Ignore These Nine Signs of Hearing Loss!