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Lincoln, RI 02865 Building #3
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How to Know if You're Hard of Hearing or Going Deaf

an older patient cupping his hand to his ear to hear better

If you experience hearing loss, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans are either hard of hearing or gradually going deaf, and a large percentage are children and young adults too. Hearing health issues can affect you at any stage of life, but you can regain control of the situation. An audiologist can help you put a winning strategy in place, but only if the hearing loss is diagnosed in good time.

Following the right path is a lot easier when you identify your potential hearing loss and seek help ASAP.

Why it's up to you to spot the issues

Unlike a lot of health issues, hearing loss very difficult for other people to notice. After all, friends and family do not know what sounds you can detect at any given moment. On a similar note, your brain will naturally try to compensate by filling in the blanks. When combined with the fact that hearing loss usually occurs as a gradual decline, it's easy to understand why so many people ignore the symptoms until the hearing loss becomes severe.

Ultimately, then, an audiologist can provide the support needed to manage your hearing loss, but only if you allow them to help.

The warning signs that you're going deaf

Hearing loss can occur immediately due to an accident or exposure to a dangerously loud noise. In most cases, though, the degeneration happens over time. Therefore, you can normally spot the signs of going deaf long before sound is completely lost.

A number of symptoms and noticeable changes in your life can surface. While they don't necessarily confirm the presence of hearing loss, each of the following are signs that you should visit an audiologist:

  • You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves during conversations, particularly when speaking on the telephone or in other situations where you do not have the visual aids of body language or lip reading. 
  • You have noticed that you now listen to the television or radio at a higher volume. This is often coupled with family members asking for the sound to be turned down. On a similar note, turning the volume up on your cell phone ringtone could be a sign of gradual hearing loss.
  • It is difficult to follow conversations when there are several people talking in a group, particularly in outdoor spaces or social gatherings. This could manifest itself as not hearing everything that has been said, or not knowing who is talking.
  • The thought of attending a social gathering or an event seems daunting because you feel conscious about missing conversations and asking people to repeat themselves. In many cases, this is coupled with reduced self-confidence.
  • You have missed phone calls, callers to the home or your morning alarm. It's also possible that you'll regularly see emergency vehicles before hearing their sirens, even in situations where there isn't excessive background noise like roadworks.
  • You find yourself tilting your head or even cupping your ear in the direction of the sound source to ensure that you pick up what's being said. This is particularly noticeable when speaking to kids and women, as well as when listening to annoying announcements.
  • General listening activities and following conversations leaves you feeling physically and mentally drained and fatigued. You may have noticed that you need extra sleep to recover following group conversations and listening in public places too.
  • Buzzes, whistles, ringing and other tinnitus symptoms become more noticeable and frequent. They can occur in one ear or in both ears, continually or intermittently. The symptoms may be even more common at night or when you're in quiet spaces.
  • You have noticed a decline in your cognitive skills, memory and mental processing. Furthermore, you may struggle to improve your knowledge due to gaining limited information in a range of daily situations.
  • You no longer notice sounds that you once did. This could range from background noises when taking a walk along the beach to certain instruments on your favorite songs. High pitched sounds are often the first to be lost.

There are many reasons why you may temporarily lose your hearing or may not detect a sound due to influential factors. Nonetheless, when any of the above issues have affected your life, visiting the audiologist for a hearing test is vital. If hearing loss is present, catching it while it's mild or moderate gives you far better opportunities to stay in control.

Book your hearing test at Hear for You Hearing & Balance Center by calling 401-475-6116 today!