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Published On: Tue, Aug 19th, 2014

7 Signs You Need a Hearing Aid

Hearing loss can creep up on you quite gradually, whether due to age or chronic noise at work. Because its progression can be slow, and its presence is completely invisible, it can be difficult to face up to the fact that your hearing isn’t what it used to be.

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss, and many of them put off getting help for years, putting unnecessary strain on their work, relationships and overall quality of life. If you’re starting to wonder whether or not your ears are showing signs of wear, here are seven signs it’s time to look into getting a hearing aid.

It’s Hard to Hear on the Telephone

The telephone is one of the first places that hearing difficulty can reveal itself on a regular basis. In normal face-to-face communication environments, visual cues, body language and mouth movement all aid a listener in context, word choice, nuance and more.

A telephone or cell phone, on the other hand, requires the ear placed against the receiver to do all the work of listening. If you’ve noticed that phone conversations have gotten trickier to maneuver, or worse, if you’ve stopped answering the phone because communication is so difficult, you may need to make an appointment with a hearing specialist.

photo supplied, courtesy of guest blogging network

photo supplied, courtesy of guest blogging network

Multiple Talkers in One Conversation Are Hard to Understand

Another sign that it may be time to look into hearing aids is when a conversation with more than one person is more difficult to understand than a one-on-one conversation is. When sound is coming from more than one location, it can make turning your ear in time to catch it harder — something you may have grown so accustomed to doing that you may not even be aware you are doing it.

Others Complain That Your TV Is Too Loud

Does your family or roommate complain that you listen to the television at too high a volume? If this is a common occurrence in your home, it’s a clear indication that what you consider a “normal” volume is not on par with others. It may mean your hearing is more compromised than theirs.

People Seem to Mumble More Than They Used To

Are you amazed at how much people have taken to mumbling? Well, it may be your ears that are the real culprit. From waiters and checkout clerks to your own friends and family, a spate of mumbling may just mean your hearing isn’t what it used to be. If mumbling has become a commonplace scourge in your world, it’s time to get your hearing checked.

You Misunderstand — A Lot

Occasionally misunderstanding what someone says isn’t always an indication of hearing trouble. It can, and does, happen to everyone. However, if you find yourself regularly misconstruing what others say, it may point to ears that just don’t pick up on the details of sound as well as they used to. While misunderstanding what another says can be both comic and frustrating, if it happens too often, you need to get your hearing checked.

Children and Women are Especially Hard to Hear

One way your hearing might be less effective is in picking up certain frequencies of sound. Women and children — because they usually speak in a higher pitch than men — can be especially difficult to understand if you’ve suffered hearing loss that affects higher frequencies more than it affects lower ones. Because not all hearing loss is the same, you may be able to hear completely fine in some contexts, whereas others present challenges. Pay attention to when and where your ears seem to fail so you can discuss it with a hearing specialist.

Others Think Your Hearing Is Poor

Perhaps one of the most telltale signs that your hearing is poor enough to warrant a hearing aid is when others notice your hearing isn’t up to snuff. It can be hard to hear your spouse, co-worker, boss or child ask you whether you’ve considered getting your hearing checked, but they only bring it to your attention because their interactions with you aren’t as smooth as they once were. If the people in your life think your hearing needs looking into, the chances are pretty good that it does. Take their advice.

Hearing loss isn’t something that happens overnight, which is why so many people experiencing hearing loss let it go undiagnosed and untreated for so long. If you suspect your hearing could use a little boost, take an inventory. If any one of these seven signs is a regular occurrence in your life, make an appointment with an audiologist and get yourself on the road to hearing the world around you once again.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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