woman with hearing loss talking to husband

With many medical conditions, the quicker you can address them, the better. Hearing loss signs can often be difficult to recognize because it can happen gradually over time. Therefore, having a better understanding of what to look for can help you to get the treatment you need.

These are five common signs that you may have hearing loss.

You’re tired after social gatherings.

Stumbling to hear and understand conversations can be tiring both mentally and physically. It can leave you feeling exhausted and drained. Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing headaches or fatigue after a social event, it could be a sign of hearing loss.

Studies have found that mentally taxing activities affect the prefrontal cortex in our brains, forcing blood oxygen levels to decrease in the region and leading to physical exhaustion. As hearing loss requires a higher cognitive load, it can result in feeling tired during social interactions.

People seem to mumble when speaking to you constantly.

Hearing loss can cause a perception of “mumbling” because it affects how we hear sounds. When someone has hearing loss, higher-pitched sounds like consonant sounds (such as “s,” “t,” “l,” and “p”) tend to go first. Consonant sounds are essential because they give words their intelligibility. Without them, you can still hear the loudness of a word, but you won’t be able to understand it. This makes it sound like the other person is mumbling, even though they are speaking clearly. For example, you may not be able to distinguish between words like “stop,” “top,” “lot,” and “pot.” So, the problem isn’t with other people’s speech; it’s with how your brain perceives sounds.

Man with hearing loss on phone

It’s difficult to hear in noisy settings.

Individuals with high-frequency hearing loss often experience difficulties in understanding speech, especially in quiet surroundings. However, following a conversation may become extremely challenging when background noise or multiple people talk simultaneously. Hearing loss can cause people to withdraw from social gatherings or places they previously enjoyed because interacting with others becomes too difficult.

It’s hard to have conversations on the telephone.

Phone calls transmit signals within a specific frequency of 300-3400 Hz. Meanwhile, natural speech has a much wider frequency, ranging from 250 to 8000 Hz. Due to the limitations of phone lines, parts of speech are compressed or cut out during transmission. This results in the loss of high-frequency sounds essential for speech clarity. People with hearing loss may find it problematic to follow a conversation on the phone since they miss these critical sounds. The mixture of hearing loss and poor sound quality can make it even harder for them to understand the other person.

You say, “WHAT!?” Often.

Using the word “what?” more often than usual might be a sign of hearing loss. You may not receive the necessary sound signals to process speech accurately. Another indication of hearing loss is relying on your spouse to restate for you, compensating for your impaired hearing.

Audiologist speaking to new patient

Treating hearing loss early

Untreated hearing loss can negatively impact overall quality of life, leading to communication challenges and adverse psychological effects. The best outcomes come from treating hearing loss as soon as possible with well-fitting hearing aids and effective communication strategies.

How to get hearing loss help

If you are experiencing just one or two of the signs of hearing loss, it might not affect your hearing significantly. Even people with normal hearing may have difficulty hearing or understanding someone in challenging environments.

However, if you frequently experience these signs or any other common hearing loss symptoms, it is advisable to get a baseline hearing test. There are solutions available for hearing loss that fit every budget, and the testing process is easy and painless.

So, don’t delay. Call Salem Audiology Clinic today at (971) 701 – 6322 to get back to hearing your best and reconnecting with the world around you.