Hearing loss is much more common than we think because many people never completely lose their hearing. What happens is that they will often start losing their ability to hear long before they even realize it. Then they’ll procrastinate as long as they can and by the time they get to a doctor, chances are they’ll never be able to regain as much of their hearing using hearing aids (advanced hearing aids), like they would have been earlier. Avoid getting to that point where one of your primary senses is permanently compromised beyond recovery by simply paying attention to the following.
Take free online hearing tests every month
Unfortunately, none of the recognizable symptoms of hearing loss show up in the early stages of hearing loss. Unless you undergo a full audio spectrum test that checks the full range of human hearing, early detection is impossible. Today, getting hearing tests every month would have been an impractical and expensive suggestion back then, but not quite in the digital age.
We can check our hearing through real audiology tests online anytime we want or need these days. The test can detect even the first sign of hearing loss and takes just five quiet minutes with headphones on. Although anyone can suffer from hearing loss, you should have hearing tests more often if you work in:
- Any job that requires wearing and using a headset for several hours a day (call centers, stockbrokers, DJs, RJs, etc.).
- Manufacturing, carpentry and metallurgy.
- Logging and timber.
- Construction and renovation.
Heed people’s complaints
Most of the time, people who lose their ability to hear properly cannot tell in the early stages. However, people around them should be able to notice the difference better. If several people are complaining that you can’t seem to hear them until they raise their voices, that’s a bad sign. This can happen on the phone, in face-to-face conversations, and in noisy public places.
It almost always means there is something affecting your ability to hear. It could be an ear infection or earwax buildup, but it can also indicate hearing loss. Take an online test to confirm your suspicions and work with the specialists from there.
Inability to understand speech at low volume
Hearing is only the mechanical action of recording sound waves, because it is the temporal lobes of our brain that are responsible for interpreting them. Therefore, when someone speaks, the temporal lobes are responsible for recognizing and interpreting what they are saying. This is why stroke patients are often unable to recognize speech. However, there is another, much more common reason behind people’s inability to understand what they hear that has nothing to do with the frontal lobes.
If your hearing is damaged, it is quite possible that the frontal lobes only receive partial information from the broken sound waves picked up by your damaged ears. Therefore, it creates the disturbing feeling of being able to hear people talking, but not understanding what they are saying.
Initially, speech will be recognizable at higher volumes, but this is the type of hearing loss that only gets worse over time. If people around you tend to complain that you turn up the TV or music volume too much, that’s a sign of hearing loss. You will probably only be able to hear garbled and muffled sounds at low volumes.
Problem with consonants
If you have trouble hearing consonants and you managed to figure them out early on, you should consider yourself lucky. The inability to hear consonants partially or completely in spoken language is one of the first signs of hearing loss. The following examples should make it easier to identify hearing difficulties. Can you tell the difference between someone whispering:
- “sdown” and “Fdown”
- “slap» and « slayou”
- “sheur” and “sour”
- “sheath” and “leaf”
A full-spectrum hearing test should be able to confirm or refute your concerns in minutes.
Tinnitus is a tricky subject, but it can be used as a symptom of hearing loss in extreme cases. By definition, tinnitus is a false ringing or buzzing sound that we hear even when there is no such sound within the hearing range. Tinnitus itself is not a cause for concern as it occurs naturally when:
- There is a sudden lull after a long period of exposure to constant noise (remove headphones after listening to loud music for a while).
- We are exposed to a sudden and loud explosion (firecrackers, gunshots, etc.).
- We move to a much quieter place than our usual place of residence.
- We are exposed to a high-pitched noise.
However, all these reactions last only a short time. Eventually, your ears should stop ringing once they get used to the change. If this does not happen and you continue to hear this ringing noise all the time, this should be considered a significant sign of hearing loss. Additionally, persistent clicking, roaring, hissing, and ticking sounds are not common and should be considered a sign of possible hearing loss.