Are you are over 50 or in your early 40’s? Are you regularly exposed to loud sounds? The sounds could be from the traffic on your way to the office. Or from machinery or equipment at your workplace. Are you a music lover and like listening to music at loud volumes? It may come as a surprise but you could be heading towards Hearing loss. Unless you have been careful and use Ear Protection Devices. Does your daily routine fall into any of the above situations? If so, you should regularly take a Hearing Test. The Audiologist will conduct a Hearing Test to detect deafness.
Take an Appointment to Detect Hearing Loss
You should take an appointment with the Audiologist. The earlier you find out the faster you can seek advice. Timely treatment can arrest further hearing loss. In most cases, Hearing Loss is due to age or exposure to loud noise.
Regular Noise Levels
Noise levels above 85 dB can be unsafe for the human ear. Noise from traffic in Indian cities is well over the 85 dB level. The noise level goes up further if there is construction activity going on. Noise from normal domestic appliances like a Hair dryer or a washing machine is in the range of 70 to 80 dB
Repeated exposure to these types of loud sounds can cause hearing loss. This type of Hearing loss is mostly Sensorineural Hearing loss. This type of loss starts very gradually. The affected person rarely recognizes that Hearing Loss has set in.
How to Detect Hearing Loss?
The affected person cannot make out the loss in hearing ability. It is easy for others around to recognise the subtle signs and detect Hearing loss. If you or your near ones show the following signs, it is a preliminary confirmation. Please note that the ENT doctor or the Audiologist will confirm after the Hearing test.
Signs of Hearing Loss
The following are some signs which show that the person is suffering from Hearing loss. Please note that hearing loss can also be temporary. Conductive hearing loss is treatable and reversible.
Difficulty In Conversation
The affected person misses out some words during a group conversation. This is more prominent if the surroundings are noisy. People seated in a restaurant or in a public place miss out words more often.
They generally feel that the opposite person is not speaking clearly. This is more obvious while talking to children and ladies. The actual reason is the reduction in the ear’s ability to hear sharp sounds. These signs are of High frequency Loss.
Requesting People To Repeat Themselves
The reason is that the affected person misses out on certain words. This often irritates others as they have to keep repeating themselves.
Watching Television At A Higher Volume
As Hearing loss increases gradually, the person will increase the volume. At times this may cause friction among the family. The volume could be too loud and unbearable for the other family members.
Missing Out Or Unable To Hear Telephone Ring Or The Doorbell
Telephone ringers and Doorbells are mostly in the high frequency range. A Person suffering from High-frequency hearing loss will miss the ringing sound. This could be risky if the affected person is alone at home. This situation is not uncommon with most of the family members away at work or at school or college. Courier and visitors coming to the door may go back. People trying to reach by phone may not get a response.
Difficulty In Accurately Locating The Direction Of The Sound
Both our ears work together to pick up the sound and send the signals to the brain. Our brain analyses these signals and informs us about the direction of the source of the sound. In case the hearing loss is unequal, the affected person does not get a clear sign. An unequal loss means a difference in the left and the right ear. In this case, the affected person may turn in the wrong direction.
Get A Feeling Of Tiredness While Discussing
People with hearing loss may feel tired or fatigued after a long office or family discussion. This is due to the excess concentration required to listen. The fear of missing out adds extra strain on the brain. The person bends or leans towards the person who is speaking. A sign of extra effort to hear. This increases the stress level and the person feels exhausted.
Avoiding Social Functions
The person avoids social functions and parties. This is due to the inability to take part in a group discussion among relatives and friends. This results in self-isolation. Recent scientific research has confirmed that self-isolation can lead to depression.
Hearing Loss Is Very Common
4 out of 10 persons over 60 have a hearing loss. There is nothing embarrassing about it. All our organs age with time. What is important is that we should detect hearing loss in time and seek treatment.
The final diagnosis on the extent and the type of hearing loss is determined by the Audiologist. The report will inform us about the severity and the type of Hearing loss.
More than the affected person it is the family members who will first notice these symptoms. At times the elders are not willing to visit the Audiologist. It is the responsibility of the family members to convince them to follow the advice.