Losing some of our hearing as we age is common, though just how common may surprise you. In Australia, 1/3 of seniors 65 years or older, and 1/6 of all Australians suffer some form of hearing loss during their lifetime. In fact, hearing loss is the second leading health problem experienced worldwide, more than Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, and Diabetes combined. Those are some staggering numbers!
It’s important to understand the risks involved and symptoms to look for to protect your hearing and prevent any further impairment. Here are four warning signs of Hearing Loss that you shouldn’t ignore:
Having difficulty hearing soft-spoken or higher-pitched female or children’s voices is a common sign of hearing loss. The higher the frequencies, the harder they are to understand. Frequently asking people to repeat themselves or speak up are common warning signs to look for.
Straining to hear from the back of the room or when away from the loudspeaker at a public event may indicate hearing loss related to distance. Difficulty hearing someone speak to you from across the room or needing to turn the TV up louder than other people watching are also warning signs of distance hearing loss.
Different sound frequencies send alerts to the brain that help differentiate between sounds. The brain uses these sound frequencies to determine which noises to filter out and which to zone in on. This allows us to hear a conversation we are having or listening to without being distracted by other nearby conversations or noise. When we lose sensitivity to these frequencies, the differences between sounds are harder to pick up, and the brain can’t sort out which ones to focus on and which to filter out. A crowded room or multiple voices talking can sound like one big wall of noise with no source clearly identifiable.
Having difficulty following a conversation in a crowded room or when more than one person is talking or trouble differentiating one voice from another are all common signs of hearing loss. Feeling overwhelmed by restaurant noise or when standing in line at a busy coffee shop or grocery store may also be early indications of hearing loss related to sound frequencies.
Ringing in The Ears
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is a condition caused by sensory cell loss in the ear. The death of sensory cells causes neural brain signals to stop. As a result, the brain creates “phantom” messages in their place, like a phantom limb sensation on an amputee. Rather than feel pain sensations from a missing limb, there’s a painful ringing sensation in the ear from missing sensory cells. The brain fills in the gap for missing sensory input by creating its own, which causes the painful ear ringing, a common warning sign of tinnitus from sensory cell hearing loss.
If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms or if symptoms occur frequently, you may need a hearing test to determine what type of treatment or hearing aid you need.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss and how to prevent them in the future, contact The Hearing Shop today.