Recognizing the Signs of Early Hearing Loss

People who reach their 75th birthday have a 1 in 2 chance of doing so with hearing loss severe enough to be disabling. Yet, instead of this 50% rate at age 75, it’s only 2% for those 45-54 years old. 

The onset of age-related hearing loss is often gradual, developing at a rate that’s much slower than your brain’s ability to adapt, so sometimes the signs of hearing loss are hard to detect at the earliest stages. 

Knowing what to watch for helps you identify changes to your hearing ability before they have a chance to impact other aspects of your life. Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression. 

Visiting Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates may be the difference between merely living life and being involved in it. 

The responses of others

Often, the first indication of your hearing loss comes from the comments of others. Your spouse or others in your household may complain more often about how loudly you set the volume while watching television or listening to music. 

They might comment that they’re repeating themselves more, while you instead feel that they’re mumbling. 

Your brain has a remarkable ability to adapt to slowly changing levels of hearing acuity. Instead of feeling as though you’re hearing less, your brain creates the perception that everything is still normal, even though hearing loss is real and measurable. 

When you know this tendency of your brain, the responses of others may be less frustrating. 

Children are harder to hear

Grandchildren are, for many, one of the delightful benefits of getting older. Yet, the higher pitches of children’s voices can be muffled due to the loss of high-frequency components of your hearing. 

Despite a person’s ability to hear across a wide range of frequencies, speech definition covers a relatively narrow band of frequencies that unfortunately match those commonly lost to age-related hearing problems.  

Children’s voices are in the range of hearing that is disproportionately affected, so if you notice that understanding the younger set is more difficult than it once was, it may be due to advancing hearing loss. 

Noisy settings

Socializing is a key part of life for many, gathering with friends and enjoying good company. When hearing loss advances, it’s often harder to focus on individual voices in noisy restaurants or other busy settings. 

Again, your reduced response to speech definition frequencies causes a loss of clarity. Voices don’t stand out from background noise the way they once did. 

In addition, you may come home from social gatherings feeling worn down or exhausted when once these would invigorate you. The unconscious effort necessary to communicate while coping with hearing loss can wear you down the same way any task that requires intense concentration can. 

When you suspect hearing loss may be affecting your life, it’s time to contact Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates for a full hearing evaluation. 

You can call the closest office, in Lawrence or Ottawa, Kansas, to schedule your appointment, or send us a message here on our website.

There’s no stigma in having hearing loss, an often common part of getting older. Treatment can restore many of life’s simple joys, so schedule your consultation today. 

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