Hearing loss is an extremely common condition, affecting approximately one in three people ages 65 to 74 and one in two people over age 75. Because it is a progressive condition – meaning it develops gradually over time – many do not even realize they have it until it is beyond an easily treatable stage.
Below are some of the common signs your loved one is starting to experience hearing loss.
The TV Is Way Too Loud
One of the major issues people who have a loved one with hearing loss face is the TV and other entertainment being turned up way too loud. This is because TV shows and movies layer dialogue, sound effects and music, and hearing loss causes difficulty discerning speech from background noise.
They Work Hard to Understand You
It’s common for people with hearing loss to ask “what?” or request that people repeat themselves often. You may also notice them turning their “good ear” toward you or standing unusually close.
They Speak Loudly
If you’ve ever tried having a conversation while wearing headphones or earmuffs, you know that you speak as loudly as you need to hear yourself, even if it is louder than you need for others to hear you. This is also common for people with hearing loss.
They Frequently Mishear You
Most people who experience hearing loss have difficulty with high-pitch sounds sooner than with lower pitches. Within human speech frequencies, consonants are much higher than vowels, and it is more difficult to discriminate one consonant sound from another. This can cause communication problems, like when they hear you say “I liked that pear” instead of “I liked that fair.”
They Have Balance Problems
One study of over 2000 adults published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that people with mild hearing loss (under 25 dB) are three times more likely to experience a fall than those with normal hearing. For each additional 10 dB of hearing loss, this risk increases by 1.4x.
This is likely because the inner ear is responsible for both hearing and balance. If there is damage within the inner ear, it probably affects both systems. In addition, when you have trouble hearing, you are less aware of your surroundings.
For more information about the signs of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call the experts at Topeka ENT.