According to an expert, there are warning signs to look out for if you or someone close to you is losing their hearing.
Hearing loss can be common as we age, with exposure to loud noise also being a major cause.
There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive involves damage to the outer or middle ear while sensorineural loss related to internal power.
Mixed is a combination of the two.
It’s important to see a medical professional if you notice a change, as ignoring hearing problems can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, The Express reports.
Additionally, it may also be associated with cognitive dysfunction often associated with dementia.
Katie Ogden, training manager for ReSound North-West Europe, pointed out the signs. “Anyone can hear things wrong from time to time and need them repeated,” Katie said.
“But if you or your loved one are constantly asking for things to be repeated, or mumbling the phrase ‘what did you say? “, this could be a sign that you are lacking the sounds and cues needed to process speech properly.”
Katie added: “People with hearing loss often complain that people don’t speak clearly or mumble.
“This may be because people with hearing loss cannot hear high-pitched speech frequencies.”
People might be able to distinguish vowels, which are the “sound[s] the word”.
However, consonants can be missed, thus losing “clarity and meaning of the word”.
Thus, people with hearing loss may feel like they hear the sound of a word or phrase, but not fully understand what is being said.
Difficulty with phone conversations is another warning sign that someone could benefit from hearing aids.
Katie pointed out: “TV shows with fast-paced dialogue, or a significant amount of background noise, can be difficult for the hearing impaired to follow.
“Critical dialogue can often be drowned out, causing people to listen to television at a much higher volume.”
If someone is watching TV at a volume that is “uncomfortable” to others, the abuser would benefit from a hearing assessment.
For those who would feel more comfortable taking a hearing test at home, rather than going to an audiologist, ReSound offers a free online hearing test.
Katie said people with hearing loss “often become calmer or may seem to withdraw in social situations”.
“It could be because that person is frustrated that they can’t hear properly, or because they feel self-conscious or embarrassed about having to ask others to repeat themselves,” Katie explained.
Another warning sign is feeling drained and exhausted after chatting with other people.
“When a person doesn’t hear all the sounds of speech, then the brain has to fill in the gaps to help make sense of what people are saying,” Katie explained.
“It requires a lot of extra focus and forces the brain to work even harder to process what’s going on in a busy situation, leading to extreme fatigue later on.”
Katie pointed out that treating hearing loss can improve a person’s health and social relationships.
“If you recognize any number of these signs in your loved one, it’s time to seek professional audiologist help,” Katie recommended.
Although ReSound UK offers a free online hearing test, it is always advisable to seek a medical diagnosis by making an appointment with an audiologist.
List of symptoms, according to the expert
- Need to repeat things
- Thinking that people are not speaking clearly or are mumbling
- Difficulty during telephone conversations
- Unable to follow while watching TV
- Become silent in social situations
- Feeling drained and exhausted after conversing with other people
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