Hear From the Experts

Hear From the Experts:
Recognizing Early Symptoms of Hearing Loss

By MJ DeSousa
Audiologist & Director of Patient Experience at Beltone

As an audiologist, I understand the importance of early detection in preserving your hearing and enhancing your quality of life. Recognizing the early signs of hearing loss is essential for taking the first step towards better hearing. By consulting with a hearing care professional, you can address any potential hearing issues and explore solutions such as hearing aids. To assist you on this journey, I have curated a list of 10 early warning signs to be mindful of, along with information on how hearing aids can significantly improve your daily life.

10 Early Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

  1. People Seem to Mumble More Frequently
    It may seem as though everyone around you no longer speaks clearly, however this is often an early sign of hearing loss.

  2. You Experience Ringing in Your Ears
    Tinnitus, characterized by ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ears, can be more than just annoying—it often indicates hearing damage and should not be ignored, especially if it persists.

  3. You Often Ask People to Repeat Themselves
    If you find yourself asking people to repeat more often, this is a common indicator that your hearing may not be as sharp as it used to be.

  4. Your Family Complains About the Volume of Your Radio or TV
    When others comment that the volume of your media devices is consistently too high, it’s likely your hearing has diminished.

  5. You No Longer Hear Normal Household Sounds
    Failing to hear familiar sounds like doorbells, timers, or the kettle whistling could mean your hearing range is decreasing.

  6. Difficulty in Group Conversations
    Struggling to keep up with conversations in noisy settings can be particularly challenging and is a very common symptom of early hearing loss.

  7. Hearing But Not Understanding
    Catching bits of conversation but struggling to follow the topic suggests a loss in certain frequencies which are crucial for speech clarity.

  8. Telephone Conversations Are Increasingly Difficult
    If turning up the phone volume doesn’t help you understand calls better, your hearing likely needs professional evaluation.

  9. Trouble Hearing When Not Facing the Speaker
    Reliance on lip-reading or watching facial expressions to understand speech can indicate you’re compensating for a hearing deficit.

  10. Others Notice You Speaking Too Loudly
    Unknowingly raising your voice can be a subconscious effort to hear yourself better, a common trait seen in those with hearing loss.

While these signs may seem minor and are commonly associated with aging, they are important early indicators of hearing loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please have your hearing checked by a professional. If you find that you have hearing loss, hearing aids offer significant benefits for most people.

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss With Hearing Aids

Incorporating hearing aids into your life after a diagnosis of hearing loss can be transformational. You’re likely to see improvements in several areas of your life, including:

  1. Communication
    Hearing aids enhance the ability to understand speech in noisy environments, leading to clearer conversations and reduced social isolation.

  2. Mental Health
    Consistent hearing aid use has been associated with reductions in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.

  3. Independence and Safety
    Hear alarms, traffic, and other important sounds, contributing to a safer living environment and increased confidence in navigating daily activities independently.

  4. Cognitive Function
    Treating hearing loss early with hearing aids may be linked to preservation of cognitive function and may play a role in mitigating effects of dementia and cognitive decline.

  5. Professional Life
    Hearing loss has been shown to affect income earning potential as struggling to hear can be mentally exhausting and lead to mistakes. Wearing hearing aids can mitigate the effects of hearing loss by 20% to 50% and lead to better job performance and less fatigue.

  6. Hobbies and Activities
    Hearing aid wearers can re-engage with hobbies and activities they used to enjoy like music, television, and outdoor activities.

  7. Physical Health
    Using hearing aids may decrease the risk of falls by improving balance and spatial awareness.

The decision to use hearing aids is a proactive step toward maintaining and actively improving your quality of life. I invite you to visit your local hearing care professional for a free hearing screening or annual checkup. Let us help you embark on a journey to better hearing and a fuller, more connected life.

About the Expert:

MJ DeSousa is an Audiologist and Director of Patient Experience at Beltone, with over 35 years of experience in hearing health care. She earned her Masters of Clinical Science in Audiology from Western University in London, Ontario and has extensive experience as a practicing Audiologist and in corporate leadership within the hearing industry. At Beltone, DeSousa is dedicated to educating hearing care professionals across North America, ensuring they provide the highest standard of patient care. Learn more by visiting her LinkedIn here.
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