Hearing loss is often called the invisible condition because of its gradual progression. Unlike other health conditions that cause pain or obvious setbacks (such as loss of vision or osteoporosis), hearing loss is not painful, usually occurs over time, and doesn’t really present any major setbacks outside of inconvenience or embarrassment. In fact, most people who experience some sort of hearing loss assume it is a natural part of aging and usually ignore symptoms until it becomes a very big problem. Many don’t realize they have the condition until they get tested or symptoms progress far enough for others to take notice.
So, what is the first sign of hearing loss? The truth is, there isn’t just one sign to look out for. All individuals who suffer from hearing loss will not have the same set of symptoms or hearing loss progression pattern. However, there are a number of signs that may hint you are suffering from hearing loss.
Here are some common first signs of hearing loss to look out for:
- Difficulty understanding speech in loud spaces. Those of us with hearing loss can have difficulty holding and understanding a conversation when there is a lot of noise in the background. Sometimes it’s hard to block out “background” noises, such as chatter in loud rooms or the sound of activity in an airport.
- Asking others to speak up or repeat themselves often. Your loved ones are likely to notice this before you do. The constant requests of those around you to repeat themselves or to speak more loudly is a common first sign of hearing loss. Chances are that you will also prefer the people you can’t hear to face you, or at least speak slowly so that you can follow their lips or read their body language.
- Making the TV or radio super loud. If a peaceful night of catching up on your favorite TV shows is met with constant requests to “turn it down” from across the house, this could be a sign of hearing loss.
- Preferring one ear over the other. Hearing loss can happen in one or both ears – if you find yourself turning your head to a “favored” ear when listening to others, it could mean that one ear has started to lose its capability to hear well.
- Ringing in your ear. Tinnitus – frequent ringing in your ear(s) – is a common hearing problem that often accompanies hearing loss. Those who suffer from tinnitus not only complain of ringing, but also buzzing, whistling and hissing in their ear.
Hearing loss is different for everyone, and this is why not everyone will have the same first signs of hearing loss. If you notice any of the above symptoms, or if you have suffered an accident or injury that has affected your hearing, it’s important to get tested right away – especially if it has been years since you were examined.
Regular testing is essential to early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. If you are between the ages of 18 and 50, get your hearing tested every five years. If you are above the age of 50, get your hearing tested every three years. An otolaryngologist can perform a thorough hearing examination that is painless, easy, and quick.
Hearing Loss Diagnosis and Treatment in Georgetown, TX
At Georgetown ENT, our otolaryngologist can help with any condition that may be affecting the ear, nose, or throat, including hearing loss. To schedule a consultation or to find out more about the services we provide, please call us at (512) 869-0604. We look forward to serving you soon.