Common Signs of Hearing Loss
By Zelda Shleifer, Au.D., CCC-A Audiologist at The Hearing, Balance and Speech Center
The most common question I face when working with people with hearing loss is how they can convince their friend or loved one to do something about their hearing loss. Living with untreated hearing loss can put a strain on relationships and affect a person's quality of life. So, what are the most common signs of hearing loss? Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are living with untreated hearing loss.  
Do you often have to ask people to repeat themselves? Does it sound like other people are mumbling or slurring their words?

If this is you and you think that most of the people around you are mumbling, chances are you are living with untreated hearing loss. Most people do not mumble when they are talking. Chances are you are not hearing them due to difficulties with your hearing.  

Do you have trouble following conversations with more than two people? Do you struggle to hear in crowded places like restaurants, malls and meeting rooms?

Following a group conversation, or conversing when there is background noise, can be even more difficult for someone with hearing loss. One of the reasons is because background noise can drown out the consonant sounds of speech that help us distinguish what the words mean. If you are having trouble in group conversations, or conversation in background noise, you may be living with untreated hearing loss.

Do you have trouble hearing what is said if you are not facing the speaker?

When we talk to people, we don’t rely solely on our hearing to follow the thread of conversation. We rely on many other cues, such as visual cues like lip reading and facial expressions, and conversational cues like watching people’s hand movement during conversations. If you are experiencing increased difficulty hearing when you are not facing the speaker, that could be a sign of hearing loss. Hearing loss, combined with a lack of visual cues, would make it increasingly hard to follow what was said.

Do you have a hard time hearing women or children?

The most common type of hearing loss impacts high frequencies, the range where women’s voices and children’s voices fall. Living with hearing loss can make it much harder to hear women and children. If your wife complains that you're not hearing her, or you struggle to hear young grandchildren, that could be a sign that you have hearing loss.  

Do you turn the TV or radio volume louder than others?

A loss of hearing means that you need increased volume to compensate for your hearing loss. If you are turning up the TV or radio, you are increasing the volume to be able to hear. The biggest dilemma is that you are increasing the volume for everyone else, too.  

Don’t let untreated hearing loss cause you to miss out on life.  If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may be suffering from hearing loss. The important thing is to remember is that hearing loss is treatable with hearing aids. Hearing aids can improve your communication with others around you; your loved ones, your friends and even with your doctors, so you don’t have to keep asking them to repeat what you missed.  

Don’t let the vibrancy of life pass you by. Have your hearing tested today.