Hearing Loss Symptoms and Overview
Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US. Approximately 36 million people are affected by hearing loss – almost three times as many people as 40 years ago. And with the introduction of technology, such as music players and in-ear headphones, this number is only going to increase.
Hearing loss is usually a slow and subtle decline, so it’s not always an easily detectable issue. However, there are a few symptoms that you, or a loved one, may have that would indicate if you, or your loved one, are having any degree of hearing loss.
- You notice yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves frequently, or to speak louder and slower
- You have trouble following a conversation or understanding speech or words
- You often have to raise the volume of the TV or radio, or your family members complain that it is too loud
- You have trouble understanding anything in an area with background noise
- You feel like conversations all sound muffled and unclear or that the other person is mumbling
- You misunderstand what people say frequently, especially if there are multiple people in the conversation.
In fact, hearing loss can easily affect balance, and it has been liked to a 3-fold increase in damaging falls (Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling - 02/27/2012. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine, based in Baltimore, Maryland. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_three_fold_risk_of_falling).
While these are the more physical implications of hearing loss, there are many emotional issues that can come about with hearing loss as well. In fact, a study by The National Council on the Aging, which surveyed 2,300 hearing impaired adults 50 years of age and older, “…found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids”
The study also found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to feel that people were getting mad at them “for no reason,” a sentiment related to paranoia. They were also more likely to avoid social settings and keep to themselves. Thus, the physical effects of hearing loss are just the beginning. In order to prevent these consequential emotional effects, it is imperative that those with hearing loss, whether minor or severe, take action to improve their hearing. (Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation in Seniors. (n.d.). American Academy of Audiology. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from http://www.audiology.org/resources/documentlibrary/Pages/UntreatedHearingLoss.aspx).