You don't have to be an octogenarian to experience significant hearing loss. Things such as listening to loud music, working around loud machinery, or being exposed to traffic noise for extended periods of time can all damage your hearing. Sometimes, the change is immediate, but more often, the hearing loss happens so gradually that the person affected may not realize that his or her hearing is not what it once was.
1. Having difficulty in hearing certain sounds. Contrary to what most people believe, hearing loss does not affect all sounds in an equal manner. The most difficult sounds for a person with hearing loss to hear are usually those in the higher register. That's why women and children are often the most difficult people for a person with hearing difficulties to communicate with. The person with hearing loss may tell them they are mumbling, when it actually is that he or she can't hear the frequencies of their speech.
2. Experiencing trouble hearing individual sounds in a crowd. Crowds can also be a problem for those with hearing difficulties. The ambient noise of the crowd can make it hard for the person to identify individual words and sounds above the background noise.
3. Being tired all of the time. Trying to figure out what people are saying and/or discerning sounds in the world around a them can be exhausting for a person with hearing loss. If a person is exhausted all of the time and there isn't another medical reason (such as arthritis or another auto-immune disorder), it can mean that they are experiencing hearing loss.
4. Experiencing ringing in the ears. Ringing in one's ears can also be a subtle symptom of damage to the cochlea and subsequent hearing loss.
5. Having one or more conditions that frequently lead to hearing loss. Hearing loss is believed to have a genetic component. Therefore, if there have been others in a person's family with hearing loss, it pays to watch for similar problems in siblings and offspring. In addition, chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and thyroid issues, have been tied to hearing loss.
The good news is that by identifying that you may have experienced hearing loss, you can begin treating and/or correcting the problem with hearing aids. A good audiologist can help match you with the treatment that is likely to be the most effective for your individual needs.
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