5 Signs That You’re Beginning To Lose Your Hearing
Did you know that an estimated 1 in 6 people in the UK has some form of hearing impairment? But because hearing loss develops slowly over time, you might not even be aware of the changes. However, knowing the signs and causes of hearing loss can help you take action to improve your hearing and find the solution that suits your lifestyle.
What causes hearing loss?
There are two leading causes of hearing loss – sensorineural and conductive. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually age-related or caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise. Conductive hearing loss results from sound being unable to pass into the inner ear, usually due to a blockage or perforated ear drum. For some of us, hearing loss can even be genetic.
Although some people are born with hearing loss, it usually develops as we age. And while it may not be possible to prevent a loss of hearing, recognising the warning signs could help you to reduce the risk and minimise memory loss and feelings of frustration and isolation.
So, what are these signs?
1. It’s harder to follow conversations
It could be a sign of hearing loss if you have difficulty following conversations, especially in noisy environments. You may find yourself asking people to repeat what they’ve said or think they’re mumbling.
As a result, you might miss out on parts of the conversation or respond inappropriately. And you may find you start avoiding nights out and family get-togethers because they’re too exhausting. In addition, hearing loss can put a significant strain on your mental resources. However, a recent study shows that hearing aids can help restore cognitive abilities.
2. Using the phone is more difficult
Are you struggling to hear phone conversations at home or on your mobile? It may be that consonant sounds have become harder to hear, so you mistake common words. And because you don’t have the familiar non-verbal cues to help you understand what’s being said, a phone conversation can become exhausting.
Fortunately, most landlines are hearing aid compatible, and you can use the accessibility settings on your mobile to make life easier. But struggling to chat with friends and family on the phone can signal hearing loss.
3. You’re over 50
Wear and tear to the tiny hairs that line the inner ear causes hearing loss over time. In the UK alone, an estimated 40% of over-50s live with some loss of hearing. Damage can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise or a history of middle ear problems. If your hearing is deteriorating, the first step is to book a hearing test with a qualified audiologist.
4. You experience tinnitus
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing whistling, buzzing or ringing when there’s no external source for the sound. It’s a symptom of hearing loss caused by the ear searching for an external sound and picking up internal sounds, like your blood flowing, instead. Around 30% of people in the UK, including children, will experience tinnitus at some point. But that rises to 80% of people who have severe hearing loss.
5. Someone in your family has hearing loss
Heredity is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. So if there’s a family history of genetic hearing disorders like Usher’s Syndrome and Otosclerosis, hearing loss may be unavoidable. If you think your hearing issues could be genetic, getting your hearing checked as soon as possible is a good idea.