Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can emerge slowly, or it can be sudden. If the hearing loss emerges slowly, the effects can be subtle and the person may not be aware of the sounds he or she is missing. Sudden hearing loss can results from trauma or illness. Some common signs of hearing loss are:
- Frequently asking for things to be repeated
- Difficulty following conversations in group situations or when there is background noise.
- Turning up the volume of the television or radio
- Ringing in the ears
- Voices sound muffled or people sound like they are mumbling.
Hearing loss can lead to stress and nervousness from straining to hear what others are saying. When communication becomes difficult, many people withdraw from social situations. It’s always a good idea to have a hearing evaluation completed by an audiologist so that a baseline test can be obtained and used for future comparisons.
Hearing Loss Prevention
There can be many causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common causes is exposure to loud noise. A loud blast, such as a single shot from a firearm can cause sudden, permanent hearing loss. Repeated exposures to loud noise, such as machinery, over an extended period of time can cause a more gradual hearing loss, still permanent in nature. Excessive noise damages the hair cells in the inner ear, causing hearing loss, and often tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Dangerous levels of noise can come from exposure to noise in the workplace, or recreational activities. Signs that noise may be dangerously loud include having to raise your voice to be heard by someone within 3 feet away, pain in the ears, and having a muffled feeling or ringing in the ears after exposure to noise. A large majority of hearing loss from noise exposure can be prevented if hearing protection is utilized. Ear plugs or ear muffs should be used at work and at home when in noisy situations. Custom fit hearing protection also offers a comfortable, consistent fit that protects the ear against loud noise. Utilizing hearing protection is vital, because when noise damages the hair cells in the inner ear, the damage is permanent.
When a hearing loss has been diagnosed, a possible treatment for that hearing loss may include hearing aids. Hearing aids have been associated with significant improvements in the social, emotional, and physical well-being of people with hearing loss. Most hearing aids are digital, which means they can be programmed specifically for the individual’s hearing loss, and can be set with multiple listening programs. Most hearing aid manufacturers have hearing aids available in various levels of technology, ranging from the base model, mid-range, and the high-end. When selecting hearing aids, attention should be given to the lifestyle and listening needs of the person with the hearing loss. The technology of the hearing aids is advanced, the hearing aids are very simple to use.