The signs of age don't hit us all at once. They creep up subtly, like the small lines that begin around our eyes or the gray hair that we catch a glimpse of when the light hits it just right. Hearing loss is like that, too. Just as we don't wake up one day with a head full of silver, we don't suddenly notice a drastic shift in the volume of the world around us. Rather, the volume is gradually turned down over a long period of time, easing us ever so gradually into change. Unsure if hearing loss is beginning to affect you? Consider the following warning signs and if they may apply.
Children's Voices are Harder to Hear
The first cells of the inner ear to fail are often those responsible for detecting high-pitched sounds. This means that people with higher-pitched voices, like children, may become more difficult to hear before anyone else.
Noisy Backgrounds Make Conversations Difficult to Follow
Competing sounds become more difficult for the ear to pick out as hearing loss progresses. Furthermore, the voice of the person speaking to you is typically a higher-pitched sound than the noise occurring in the background, making them harder to distinguish.
You're Having to Read Lips
If you find that you're watching a person's lips as they speak more often than you once did, you may have an early warning sign of hearing loss. Even if you are not yet aware that your ears are failing, your brain knows and is attempting to make up for the lowering of one sense (hearing) by relying more heavily on another (sight).
You Keep Having to Turn up the Volume
Do you find that the volume of the TV or radio needs to be higher than it once did for you to hear it comfortably? This is an easy sign that your ears can't pick up sound the way they once did. Consider for a moment the many different sounds that may compete with one other in a movie or television show, and it's clear why aging ears may need a higher volume level.
It feels like Your Ears are Clogged
Hearing loss often manifests as sounds that seem muffled or dull. This can feel similarly to ears that are clogged with wax or fluid. If you've complained that your ears feel clogged only to find them perfectly clear, hearing loss could be to blame.
Although hearing loss can be bothersome, it is also a natural part of aging and is problem that can, thankfully, be easily addressed. An audiologist can help you determine the degree of your hearing loss, and help you determine which options may be best to help you hear clearly once again.
If you are in the Greater Baton Rouge area and are suffering from signs of hearing loss, contact Lane Audiology Center and request an appointment with audiologist Heather O'Laughlin by clicking the button below.