Hearing loss often comes in a slow and gradual decline. As a result, it can be difficult to notice the signs of hearing loss until years after it has already begun. There are long-term health risks for leaving hearing loss unaddressed. That is why it is important to know the common symptoms of hearing loss.
Being able to spot the early symptoms of hearing loss can help you and your loved ones. It takes the average person around seven years to admit they have hearing loss and address it. But if you can notice it early, in yourself or a loved one, it is a lot easier to speed that process up.
If the cause of the hearing loss is due to an underlying condition, treating it fast can mean restoring your hearing to its normal levels. If you leave it unaddressed, there is an increased risk that the hearing loss becomes more severe or permanent.
There are potential complications for your overall health and wellbeing that come from untreated hearing loss. Numerous studies have found that it can lead to the following issues:
Here’s how it typically works. When you ignore or miss hearing loss, your brain has to work harder to hear things. That can lead to greater strain and mental fatigue, as well as an increase in anxiety and angry outbursts in social situations. It can also lead to you from social interaction, such as conversations with friends and family.
That in turn can lead to your brain being less stimulated from conversations, as well as from hearing your regular TV shows, movies, music, and so on. Without that stimulation, it can lead to a decline in cognitive function, such as memory loss and dementia.
This process may take several years, but it takes people a long time to notice hearing loss, admit they have it, and then get treatment for it. Being able to spot hearing loss can help you or your loved one decide to address it as soon as possible. It can be addressed before it leads to the more serious complications.
Here are the main signs and symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss.
If you have sensorineural hearing loss, you will find you have difficulty hearing higher pitched sounds. It will be most noticeable when trying to have a conversation with women and children, whose voices are naturally higher pitched. This is because it is more common for sensitivity to higher pitches being lost before lower pitches.
If you feel any kind of pain or pressure, there is a good chance you also have some level of hearing loss. However, if you can treat the condition leading to the pain, both the pain and the hearing loss may go away.
You may start having greater difficulty following a conversation, particularly in background noise. You may need to move closer to the person speaking, and you may start trying to read their lips in order to compensate. In all situations, the people speaking will sound like they’re talking more quietly than usual, like everyone is mumbling. You will often find yourself asking people to repeat themselves more often. You will also turn the volume up on TV, music, radio, and so on.
With hearing loss, you will have a harder time hearing sounds in noisy environments. This can include restaurants, concerts, church sermons, a windy day outside, and so on. You will have greater difficulty picking out specific elements of a conversation, music you’re listening to, or other details. You may have an issue pinpointing the direction of a sound or completely missing certain sounds through the background noise.
When you can’t hear as well, you will find that you really have to focus and try hard at all times to follow a conversation. That makes your brain work a lot harder than it would without hearing loss. As a result, you will find that you feel mentally fatigued after conversations. You may also find that you feel stressed and anxious not just after a social outing, but also leading into one. Even if you used to enjoy being around your friends and family, having hearing loss can make it an unpleasant chore.
This is a good sign that you have some kind of infection in your ear. It can also be a bloody discharge from a ruptured eardrum, or another kind of injury or trauma. This is a definite sign that you need to have your ears checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
If you think you or a loved one is showing signs of hearing loss, it’s a good idea to have your hearing assessed. You can contact us at any time to request a full hearing assessment at your nearest Helix Hearing Care clinic. You can also take our free online hearing screening from the comfort of your own home; it takes five minutes, and you only require an internet connection and a good pair of headphones.