Hearing loss often occurs gradually. Because of this, it’s usually difficult to self-diagnose.
Leaving auditory problems untreated can negatively affect your overall health and can lead to a lower quality of life. Hearing loss is often linked to problems socialising, work-related difficulties and mental health issues.
If you’re worried about your hearing, we recommend consulting with your physician or audiologist. Getting the correct treatment can help prevent permanent hearing damage.
Not sure if you need to visit your local audiology clinic? Here are 5 signs that you might need a hearing test.
1. You hear ringing
One symptom of hearing loss is tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of ringing in one or both ears. This symptom can be continuous or it can come and go.
Common causes of tinnitus include exposure to loud noises, degeneration of hair cells in the cochlea and swelling of a duct in the ear. Depending on severity, tinnitus can also affect your ability to concentrate. In some cases, the ringing might even cause dizziness. When this happens, it’s best to see your audiologist or physician for expert advice. There are multiple management techniques and treatment options used by audiologists to reduce the effects of tinnitus.
2. You have difficulty hearing in noisy settings
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, background noise can ‘mix’ or drown out what people are saying. This can make conversations extremely difficult to follow.
Sure, everyone has a hard time having conversations in loud night clubs. However, if you find that you’re the only one who’s having trouble communicating with friends, family or co-workers, it might be a sign that you need to get your hearing checked.
Nowadays, there are plenty of treatment options for different types of hearing loss. Hearing tests are easy and painless. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional if you’re having trouble hearing in certain settings.
3. Your volume is too high
Since it’s difficult to notice hearing loss on your own, it’s important to pay attention to how your hearing perception differs from others.
For example, when you’re watching Netflix, the people around you might start complaining about how loud the volume is. If you find yourself periodically increasing the volume on your TV, phone, stereo or headphones, this could be a sign that you’re compensating for degraded hearing. And, if friends and family are constantly pointing out your issues with hearing, make sure to take note.
These could be signs that your hearing is not as good as it used to be. Hearing tests often involve discussing what you feel about your hearing level in comparison to others.
4. You constantly ask people to repeat themselves
When you talk to people, do you often ask them to repeat what they just said?
It’s worth noting how often you do this. Is it the same people that you have a hard time understanding? If so, they might just have a quiet voice. However, if you find yourself asking everyone to say things louder, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
Difficulties with verbal communication can be indicative of damaged hearing. If you’ve experienced this, consider taking a hearing test.
5. Conversations are tiring
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, conversations can become extremely draining. You have to read lips, ask people to repeat themselves and constantly strain just to hear what they’re saying.
All the effort that you put into trying to understand others can leave you feeling tired. If you feel unusually drained at the end of social interactions, consider consulting your physician or audiologist.
Given the possible consequences of untreated hearing loss, it’s best to take a hearing test if you’ve noticed some of the signs above.
Luckily, certain types of hearing loss (i.e. conductive hearing loss) can often be treated medically. Based on the results of your test, your audiologist will recommend different treatment options. This can include surgical procedures, prescription of hearing aids or just plain counselling.
It’s important to always stay on top of your health for your own and your family’s sake.