Have you ever finished a conversation and realized you hardly understand a single word the person was saying? Were they mumbling or is there something wrong with your hearing?
Have you ever been watching the television when your roommate or family asked why it was so loud? Did you just have it up because the commercials were so much louder than the program or is your hearing declining?
There's hundreds of different scenarios that involve people explaining away their hearing difficulties with a myriad of reasons. But the truth is most people won't take the time to get a hearing check to actually determine whether or not they have a hearing loss.
So, we put together multiple situations that are indicative of a hearing loss.
You might have a hearing loss if…
You are over the age of 40…
- Presbycusis is age-related hearing loss that occurs slowly as people get older.
- 1-in-6 people ages 41-59 have hearing loss, and 1-in-3 people over age 60 have hearing loss.
- Hearing loss may be written off as a “normal part of aging”, but can negatively impact quality of life.
- Hearing loss is often ignored until it seriously affects work or social activities.
You had a lot of ear infections as a child…
- Chronic ear infections have been linked to a greater chance of hearing loss.
You have trouble understanding TV or when on the phone…
- Even a mild hearing loss can cause difficulty with speech understanding.
- You may find yourself turning the volume up on the television, which can cause complaints from significant others or neighbors.
- The telephone may be easier to understand in one ear more than the other.
One or more of your relatives has a hearing loss…
- Hearing loss can be genetic.
- If a close blood relative such as parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle has a hearing loss, you are at greater risk.
You have been on medications such as strong antibiotics or chemotherapy…
- Reactions to certain drugs or cancer treatments is a cause of hearing loss.
- These medications are called ototoxic medications because they affect the ear.
You have difficulty following conversations…
- Relatives may begin to complain that you are not paying attention.
- You have to ask people to repeat themselves in order to catch what was said.
- Your ability to follow conversation is worse in noisy environments like restaurants.
You have had repeated exposure to intense noise or loud music…
- Exposure to loud sounds or music can cause a noise-induced hearing loss.
- Noise-induced hearing loss is a leading cause of hearing loss in adults.
- Damaging noise can be power tools, machinery, gunfire, concerts, personal music players, sporting events, etc.
You hear ringing or noises in your ears…
- Tinnitus is the term used to describe any noises (or ringing) heard in the ears or head.
- Approximately 90% of people with some degree of tinnitus also have hearing loss.
You are a smoker…
- Current smokers are more likely to have hearing loss than non-smokers.
You have other conditions such as diabetes or hypertension…
- Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes compared to those without.
- Hypertension can accelerate hearing degeneration causing an association between high blood pressure and hearing loss.
- Normal blood flow is important to the ear and inadequate blood flow through the body can contribute to hearing loss.
You can't hear in varying frequency ranges…
The normal range of human hearing is about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, while human speech is typically 500 Hz to 3,000 Hz. Generally speaking if you are able to detect sounds between 250 Hz and 8,000 Hz at 25 decibels you are considered to have normal hearing.
The video below will play sounds from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and you can use it as a rudimentary hearing test. You may also want to use a decibel meter to ensure the intensity is around 25 dB.
If you fit into any two of the categories above, a full hearing evaluation from a hearing healthcare professional is recommended. If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, it is important to have your hearing evaluated.
Untreated hearing loss can cause many problems, such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, memory loss, increased risk of falls, and reduced job performance and earning power.