How to know if you’re hard of hearing or going deaf?

a man cupping a hand to his ear

Many people experience hearing loss as they get older. In some cases, hearing loss is a side-effect of the natural aging process, but there are also underlying causes that can contribute to temporary hearing problems. If you’ve been having troubles with your hearing, and you think you might be going deaf, here’s a guide to the signs and symptoms to look out for. 

How to know if you’re hard of hearing

Hearing loss is usually gradual, and this means that it can be tricky to spot in the early stages. If you do experience signs of hearing loss, it’s wise to seek advice as soon as possible, as treatments can help to slow deterioration and provide you with better hearing and improved confidence. The most significant signs of hearing loss include:

  • Finding it difficult to chat on the phone: Talking on the phone is a very common feature of modern-day living. We make calls at work, we speak to friends on our cellphones and we use customer service lines if we need advice or help. While making phone calls can be a quick and easy way to communicate, it can be difficult for those with hearing loss. When you chat on the phone, you can’t see the person’s lips moving or interpret their body language. You are reliant on your ability to hear. If you’re hard of hearing, this can make conversing on the phone tricky. If you are finding it hard to hear people on the telephone, check your volume settings. If they’re higher than usual, and you’re still struggling to hear, it’s wise to have a hearing test. 
  • Missing or misunderstanding words and phrases: Do you find yourself wondering what on earth friends are talking about in conversations over lunch, or do your colleagues sometimes burst out laughing or look confused when you repeat words or phrases you think they’ve said? If you have hearing loss, it’s very easy to misunderstand what people say or mistake one word for another. Even mishearing a single letter or missing out one word can change the meaning of a sentence completely. 
  • Asking people to repeat themselves: We all have conversations when it’s harder to hear and understand people. Some people are naturally very softly spoken, but if you find that you’re asking colleagues or friends to repeat themselves on a regular basis, you might have hearing loss. 
  • Turning up the volume on your radio or TV: If you’re reaching for the remote control or the radio dial to turn up the volume on the TV or your music in the car, this could be a sign of hearing loss. It’s particularly beneficial to arrange to have a hearing test if you’ve been turning up the volume levels for a while or if other people have remarked how loud your TV is. 
  • Struggling to hear when there is background noise: Most people find it difficult to hear in very loud environments, but if you’re having to concentrate when background noise levels are relatively low, this might indicate that your hearing is deteriorating. If you find it hard to have a conversation in a cafe, for example, or you’re struggling to concentrate in the office when others are talking, it’s best to seek help. If you have to focus really hard or strain to hear, you might also find that you feel more tired than usual. 
  • Finding it hard to keep track during meetings and conversations: Have you started to feel like things are going over your head in meetings, or do you feel left out in conversations with friends because you can’t hear everything that is said? If so, call and book a hearing test. 

What happens if tests show that you’re hard of hearing?

If you undergo a hearing assessment and the results show that you do have hearing loss, the first step is to rule out any underlying causes, which could be contributing to temporary problems. If your hearing loss is significant, and there is no underlying cause, you may be advised to consider using hearing aids. A hearing instrument specialist (HIS) can give you all the information you need about hearing aids and explain how they work, the benefits they offer and what kinds of devices are available. Wearing hearing aids can improve your hearing, as well as making you feel more confident and connected. 

If you have any concerns about your hearing, or you’d like to find out more about hearing tests or hearing aids, don’t hesitate to contact Wesson Hearing Aid Center at (209) 275-1657.