Hearing loss is estimated to affect as many as 48 million Americans. While in most cases, hearing loss occurs as part of the natural aging process, there can be other reasons why you may not be able to hear as well as you once could. The good news is that most hearing loss is fairly mild and can be treated with one of several different treatments, so there is no need to struggle day to day unnecessarily.
So, how can you tell if you have hearing loss? Here’s what you need to know.
One of the biggest misconceptions about hearing loss is that people who are affected can’t hear anything at all. However, this isn’t the case. Much like vision loss, hearing loss can vary significantly from person to person. Some people can struggle to hear sounds that are normal volume but can make out noises that are much louder. Other people can hear at all volumes, but the sound is unclear. And of course, there are people who struggle to hear anything at all. Hearing loss can also occur gradually, or it can come out of the blue.
Nevertheless, there are some signs that you should probably speak to your doctor or hearing specialist about your hearing. These include:
Problems hearing other people clearly
Regularly misunderstanding what people say, especially in noisy places
Asking people to repeat themselves all the time
Listening to music or watching tv loudly
Having to concentrate to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring and stressful
Struggling to understand conversations, especially when there is background noise
Preferring to read subtitles when watching tv
Avoiding social situations because you are worried about not being able to hear people properly
Ringing in your eyes
Better hearing in one ear than the other
If you can identify with one or more of these statements, it could be that your hearing isn’t as good as it could be and it’s worth arranging an appointment with your doctor or hearing specialist for an evaluation.
As we know, in most cases, hearing loss occurs naturally with advancing age and older people are much more likely to need extra support with their hearing. This is thought to be a combination of the natural deterioration of the cells within the ears that detect noise and persistent exposure to loud noises over many years.
However, there are other factors that can lead to hearing loss. These include:
A perforated eardrum
An ear infection
Growth or tumor within the ear
Cholesteatoma (a build-up of skin cells within the ear)
A side effect of taking certain medications
Your doctor or hearing specialist should be able to help identify the cause of your hearing loss which will help them to recommend the correct treatment. This is important for the treatment to be successful. For example, hardened earwax will usually be softened with eardrops and then sucked out using a special tool. Meanwhile, an ear infection will usually be treated with a combination of antibiotics and topical treatments.
If you are found to have permanent hearing loss that cannot be restored with a simple treatment, there are other solutions that can help. Hearing aids have long been the go-to treatment for restoring sound, and these have evolved to be even more effective than ever before. Some patients are recommended to have implants. These are devices that are attached to your skull or placed deep inside your ear and work in the same way as conventional hearing aids.
If you would like more information about hearing loss, please speak to our experienced and dedicated hearing team at Eyes & Ears today by calling (817) 813-9010 or click here to take our Free, 5 minute online hearing test.
Find out if you have hearing loss, contact Eyes & Ears in Southlake, Texas at (817) 813-9010 to book an appointment.