At least 15% of American adults have trouble hearing. Constantly telling your family and friends “I can’t hear you” gets old quickly, but aging makes it unavoidable.
It’s important to know the differences between trouble understanding what a mumbling friend is trying to tell you and a case of progressing hearing loss. Read on to learn 5 definite signs to look for and how to get help to treat them.
1. Difficulty Hearing and Understanding Conversations
Pay attention to how often you tell your friends and family “I can’t hear you,” ask them to repeat themselves, feel like they’re mumbling, or attempt to read their lips to determine what they’re saying.
This problem also extends to dialogue in your favorite movies or TV shows. If you have hearing loss, you may have to turn the volume up to levels that make your family and friends feel like they’re at a rock concert. You may also turn on captions so you can read what the characters are saying.
2. Difficulty Hearing Certain Frequencies
Conductive hearing loss makes it difficult for sounds to get through the outer and middle ear. It makes loud sounds muffled and soft sounds difficult to hear. Sensorial hearing loss has a similar effect but is caused by ear damage and may be permanent. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both.
There are also several types of hearing loss that only make certain frequencies harder to hear. High-frequency is one of the most common. It may make it difficult to hear high-pitched voices such as those of women and children.
Pay attention to whether you have difficulty hearing everything or only certain types of sounds. This will help a doctor determine what type of hearing loss you’re experiencing.
3. Difficulty Hearing in Certain Situations
Pay attention to when and where you have difficulty hearing. If it primarily happens when you’re on the phone or in noisy places, you may have hearing loss.
Tinnitus is a condition that causes a persistent ringing, buzzing, or other disruptive sounds in the ears. Over 50 million Americans struggle with it, and 2 million have a debilitating case.
Tinnitus is one of the most common ear issues and often goes along with hearing loss. It can signal a problem with your body’s auditory system, and treating both at the same time should help you hear better.
Get a hearing test if you notice any of these signs to determine if they point to hearing loss.
How to Hear Better
You should expect the phrase “I can’t hear you” to come up at least once in most conversations. Hearing it almost all the time is a sign of a more serious problem. Difficulty hearing in general is one sign of hearing loss, but so is trouble with certain frequencies or situations and the annoying ringing in the ears caused by tinnitus.
Get a hearing test as soon as you notice any of these signs. It’ll help determine what type of hearing loss you have and how to treat it.
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