As we age, we don’t “go gray”—we become “silver foxes.” We don’t lose a step or two—we savor moments of stillness a little longer. While it is certainly possible to age gracefully, the consequences of age-related hearing loss (or presbycusis) can be less forgiving.
Hearing loss is a natural part of aging as it occurs gradually over time. But what if there were a way to ease the transition? When you know which signs of hearing loss to look for, you can take the next step in improving your hearing health and happiness.
Here are five signs of hearing loss to look for or talk about with your loved one.
- Speech and sounds are muffled.
Do words and phrases sound mumbled or slurred? Are men’s voices coming through more clearly than women’s? Has it become difficult to understand words among background noise? Sometimes when we experience hearing loss, we might also confuse “s” sounds with “th” sounds. When we experience these early indicators of hearing loss, we must have our ears examined immediately. If we ignore them, we put ourselves at risk of prolonged hearing and health issues.
- We ask others to speak up or repeat themselves.
When hearing care patients come to us to discuss their hearing loss, this is typically one of our first topics of conversation. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss how our hearing works.
In each of our inner ears, we have a spiral cavity called the cochlea. Inside the cochlea, hairs and nerve cells receive vibrations of sound and then translate those impulses to our brain. This is how we are capable of hearing. Over time, though, the cells inside the cochlea weaken, which impairs our hearing.
Asking others to repeat themselves does not always indicate hearing loss, but people with hearing loss almost always ask others to repeat themselves. If this becomes a habit, please contact us or visit us at a Beltone of WNY as soon as you can.
- Our TV or radio is on extremely high volumes.
Extremely loud televisions or radios are a double-edged sword. When we start to lose our hearing, we turn the volume up so we can hear. That’s the simple part. But as we continue to turn up the volume louder and louder over time, we are subjecting ourselves to further damage. Listening to loud noise for an extended period of time has a tendency to overwork the cells in our ear, which can then cause them to die, resulting in potentially permanent hearing loss. Is that TV louder than usual? It might be time to see your friends at Beltone of WNY.
- We withdraw from conversations.
When we experience hearing loss, it can become uncomfortable to socialize with others. While it is natural to feel annoyed, embarrassed, or even angry about being unable to hear well during conversations with others, we must be careful about avoiding them altogether. Alienating ourselves from our friends and family can have a detrimental impact on our mental health, which is another reason why it is so important to take care of our hearing health as soon as possible.
- We find ourselves looking at people’s mouths when they’re speaking.
To compensate for our hearing loss, we might try to read a person’s lips when they’re speaking. Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, it’s probably time to visit a Beltone of WNY near you. Our team of experienced hearing care professionals are here to help you understand hearing loss, assess your questions and concerns, identify hearing care solutions.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these hearing loss symptoms, please contact us or come in for an ear exam as soon as possible. Remember, we are your partners in hearing health and happiness!