When hearing loss occurs, some people find it undeniable. They might have such trouble with conversations that they know hearing loss is to blame. Others might point out sounds that they can’t hear, making it clear that hearing loss is an issue. However, others are not sure about hearing loss. Particularly when the process of degeneration is gradual, sometimes over the course of years, they might not even notice those sounds that they can no longer hear. In addition, some of these people develop unconscious mechanisms to make do with the hearing they have, making best guesses at the contents of conversations and even working around the things they can’t hear to make it possible to communicate well enough to get by. These satisfying mechanisms are helpful for daily tasks and communication, but they also can mask the presence of hearing loss. With these possibilities in mind, let’s consider some of the identifying signs of hearing loss. You might notice some of these in yourself, prompting you to schedule a hearing test. You also might notice these signs in a family member, friend, or someone in your community. If you take note of these identifying signs, they can be a good way to begin a conversation about the possibility of hearing loss and the necessity of getting tested.
Problems in verbal communication are one of the first signs of hearing loss. Those who have untreated hearing loss tend to show evidence that they are not picking up what others do in these conversations. Asking others to repeat themselves or to speak more loudly are some of the most common signs of hearing loss. Particularly in contexts where others have no issue with hearing, those who ask for communication assistance might be telling you that they have hearing loss. In addition, some people ask for specific accommodations, even when they don’t realize they have hearing loss. They might ask a person to come into the same room before speaking, to stand clearly within eyeshot, or to stand closer to one ear than the other. These accommodation requests might be circumstantial if they happen once or twice, but if they happen more often you might see them as a warning sign of hearing loss. Take particular note of situations where others in the room seem to have no problem communicating but you or someone you love has comparatively more trouble. Although we all find ourselves in situations where it is difficult to communicate from time to time, some people find more contexts challenging than others.
Other signs of hearing loss are not as clear as these communication problems, and they can be traced to a wider range of causes. For instance, those who have hearing loss tend to become fatigued in social situations. The process of trying to decipher what others are saying is so challenging that they can become exhausted very quickly in a party or other social gathering. However, social fatigue is not only caused by hearing loss. If you notice that you are becoming exhausted in group conversations, this is a good reason to get a hearing test, although it is not certain that hearing loss is the underlying cause. This social exhaustion can lead to other mental health and wellness issues. When communication is difficult time and time again, you might find that you would prefer to avoid social situations altogether. That avoidance of social interaction can lead to depression and other issues, so you can take any of these negative relationships as a prompt to get a hearing test.
These indicators are helpful signals that hearing loss might be an issue. If you take a hearing test and find that you have no problem, then you can pursue other diagnoses and treatments to get to the bottom of the issue. However, if your test shows that you have hearing loss, you can use that result to lead you to treatment. When you get the help you need with hearing, you can find a remedy to your communication and social issues. Why not take the test right away? Getting a thorough diagnosis is the first step toward treatment!