Do You Think You Have a Hearing Loss?

Do You Think You Have a Hearing Loss?

If you or someone you know might have a hearing loss, you are not alone. Statistics tell us that it takes the average person seven years from the time they think they have a hearing loss until the time they seek treatment. Don’t be a statistic. Seek treatment for your hearing loss.

Do you have any of these symptoms? Do you…

  • Ask people to repeat what they say
  • Have trouble following the conversation in groups
  • Think others are mumbling
  • Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio
  • Have difficulty on the phone
  • Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock
  • Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies
  • Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants

Think about these situations: 

  • Are you embarrassed to talk openly about not being able to hear?
  • Are you cutting out activities that you used to love but have become painful because you cannot join in fully anymore?
  • Are you afraid to reveal your hearing loss at work in case it jeopardizes your job?
  • Are you bluffing when out with friends in noisy restaurants?
  • Are you feeling cut off from your young children because you cannot hear their high-pitched voices?
  • Are family holidays a strain because so many people are talking at once? 
  • These are common reactions and can lead to withdrawal from social interaction, anxiety, loss of self-esteem and even depression.

“I can hear but can’t understand.” Other Things to Consider 

For most adults, the onset and progression of a hearing loss extends over some time. Therefore, one’s family and friends are likely to be the first to notice some difficulty hearing, long before the person does.

People will not be aware of what they don’t hear (like the sounds of birds, the beep of the microwave). They will be aware that they do not understand speech, as when they say, “I can hear but can’t understand.”

The person with hearing loss will notice difficulty in understanding when someone talks from another room.

Probably, the major complaint of people with hearing loss is the difficulty they experience in comprehending speech in any kind of noisy place (restaurants, receptions, large family dinners, in the car, or on a plane).

Group conversations are particularly difficult, especially when there is great deal of cross-talk.

Family members frequently complain that the TV volume is set too high, leading to some family squabbles.

These increasing difficulties in hearing may produce conflict with family members, as the family insists on getting help and the person with hearing loss is reluctant to recognize the reality. This stage may last for seven or more years before the hearing loss and ongoing subsequent issues are acknowledged and help is sought.

For children who are hard of hearing, the situation is different. Parents should be on the lookout for delayed or aberrant speech and language development, apparent inattention, and poor school work. Hearing screenings in classrooms are necessary, but not mandated in all states. Ask your pediatrician to do a hearing screening at the annual check-up. Go to our Parents Community.

The bottom line is – if you think you (or your child) is having difficulty hearing, have your hearing checked by  an audiologist. Go to Find the Professional to find an audiologist in your area.

Diagnosing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is diagnosed based on the person’s history, behavior, and the results of an audiological examination. If you are told that nothing can be done about your hearing loss, you should seek a second opinion.

What should I do if I think I have a hearing loss? 

See an audiologist for a complete hearing test. You should consult an ear, nose throat specialist (ENT or otolaryngologist) if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • History of pain, active drainage, or bleeding from an ear. 
  • Sudden onset or rapidly progressive hearing loss.
  • Acute, chronic, or recurrent episodes of dizziness.
  • Visualization of blood, pus, cerumen plug, foreign body, or other material in the ear canal.
  • Unilateral or asymmetric hearing loss
  • Also see “Do You Need a Hearing Test?”, a questionnaire (for adults 18 – 64) by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

What will I learn? 

A full hearing test will tell you the degree and type of hearing loss and help determine if you could benefit from hearing aids. This will include an audiogram. The hearing health professional will recommend what type of hearing aid is best for your hearing loss.

Helping You Prepare & Live Well with Hearing Loss from the Ida Institute

HLAA has partnered with the Ida Institute in Denmark to enhance the quality of audiological rehabilitation and support the advancement of hearing care. Through our collaboration we hope to strengthen the focus on a person-centered approach to hearing care. HLAA is pleased to introduce you to materials developed by the Ida Institute called Ida Telecare. 

Ida Telecare is an engaging, online platform that offers persons with hearing loss easy-to-use tools and resources to help them prepare for appointments and successfully manage daily communication and important decisions related to hearing. Thank you to the Ida Institute for making the Tools easily accessible to visitors of this site. 

Hearing Aids