Statistics show that one in eight people aged 12 years or older experience hearing loss in both ears, with around 2 percent of adults (ages 45-54) experiencing disabling hearing loss. Despite these hearing loss statistics, many people do not consider hearing loss as something to feel concerned about until they get older, even if they recognize they cannot hear as well as they used to. 

But, recognizing hearing loss and taking steps to manage it, usually through a hearing aid, is crucial if you want to continue living a normal life. Although you might not realize it now, hearing loss can have an impact on happiness and wellbeing, so here are the ways for you to identify hearing loss

Muffled speech 

Muffled speech is arguably the first thing you will encounter when experiencing early hearing loss. Rather than being able to hear speech, music, and even ambient noise clearly, everything sounds like you are listening through a wall, or even like your ear is pressed against a pillow. 

This type of speech means you’re unable to hear words clearly, which could lead to misunderstandings or missed questions and answers. As many words are inaudible, you will often get only half of what is being said, which is not ideal for social and professional scenarios. 

Trouble understanding words 

Hearing loss is also apparent if you have problems understanding words. While this is similar to muffled speech, it does offer a few distinctions. While muffled speech makes it difficult to hear most words, finding trouble understanding them can be an issue with a few words here and there, especially in public environments. 

A loud crowd or busy location can make hearing everything almost impossible for people experiencing hearing loss. However, many people put this down to the situation rather than identify it as something they should get advice about. 

Asking people to speak more clearly

In these scenarios, you might need to ask people to speak more clearly. Again, as the surrounding environment is loud and noisy, they might also think that you are struggling to hear over the noise. But, if you feel you need to do the same in more quiet and private scenarios (such as a cafe or at home), there’s a strong possibility that you may experience hearing loss. 

You might also need them to speak slower and louder, which are other examples of hearing loss. While some people naturally speak quickly (just as much as others naturally speak slowly), you can identify potential issues if you find yourself unable to follow along or hear a conversation. Especially with people with whom you are familiar with their speech pattern and have known for a long time. 

Turning up the volume 

Whether it’s the TV, radio, or on your headphones, turning up the volume is a clear sign of hearing loss and should encourage you to see an audiologist as soon as possible. The interesting thing about turning the volume up is that we all have a preferred TV volume, even if we don’t realize it. 

However, once you start adjusting this volume, even if it’s only by a few notches, it is time to book in a hearing test. While it may not seem like a big deal right now, the longer you leave it. The worse it could potentially get, so you’re better off knowing what is happening as early as possible. 

Avoiding social settings

One factor that many people don’t consider about hearing loss is that they will begin to withdraw from social settings and then avoid them altogether. Whether they recognize that they struggle hearing people or are subconsciously avoiding social interaction, they feel embarrassed that they keep needing to ask people to repeat themselves or talk louder. 

This can have a severe impact on your mental health. Avoiding social scenarios will make you feel isolated, especially if you don’t admit you have hearing loss, and instead come up with excuses each time. 

Straining to hear

While most people can focus on conversations or TV shows without trying too hard, anyone with hearing loss will need to strain themselves to hear correctly. You don’t expect how exhausting this can be, and it could wear you down faster than anticipated. 

Straining to hear could put too much pressure on your head and cause headaches. It can also be frustrating if you still miss a conversation or question despite how hard you tried. 

Get in touch 

If you recognize these signs of hearing loss and believe you need a test or want more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Davis Audiology today at 864-655-8300 to book an appointment to see an experienced and well-qualified audiologist.