October is National Audiology Awareness Month, an opportunity to share information about hearing loss and the folks on the front line who treat it. Hearing loss is more prevalent than you might think; approximately one out of every five Phoenix and Scottsdale residents experiences some degree of hearing impairment. Here’s something else that might come as a surprise: many of those individuals aren’t even aware they have a problem. If that seems hard to fathom, consider that hearing loss develops so gradually many people simply become accustomed to a reduction in their hearing ability as the brain compensates for their impairment.
Hearing Loss Signs & Symptoms
There’s a reason it takes most people with hearing loss in Arizona seven years to schedule a visit with an audiologist: many don’t even know they have a problem. They’ll gradually learn to cope by turning up the volume on the television or inadvertently avoiding noisy social gatherings, completely oblivious to their condition until a spouse or other loved one mentions it.
Treating hearing loss as soon as possible is important in preventing many negative physical, psychological, and social effects. Patients with hearing loss may suffer from a number of health effects including isolation, withdrawal, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and dementia. In order to prevent these and other problems, learn to recognize the signs of hearing loss. These include:
- You frequently ask others to repeat themselves. One of the most obvious signs of hearing loss is…drumroll, please!…difficulty hearing. You might think your hearing is okay, but if you find yourself saying “huh?” a lot and asking other people to repeat themselves, then your hearing is less than optimal. The same holds true if you believe everybody is mumbling all the time and have particular difficulty understanding women and children, as hearing loss usually affects the high frequencies first.
- You turn up the volume on the TV and radio. Turning up the volume on your favorite television program or when you’re listening to your favorite tunes is often an early indicator of hearing loss, especially if others in your household complain that it’s too loud.
- You have difficulty following telephone conversations. The idea of picking up a telephone and actually speaking into it may seem foreign to many young people, but some of us prefer the old-fashioned method of talking over texting. If you’ve come to dread the telephone because conversations are difficult to follow, it may be time to have your hearing checked.
- You experience a ringing in your ears. Tinnitus, characterized by a ringing (or other phantom sound) in your ears, is often associated with hearing loss. It can cause a lot of the same emotional turmoil and exhaustion as a hearing impairment and is worth a trip to the audiologist’s office.
- You find it hard to communicate over background noise. We all have trouble following conversations in noisy environments such as restaurants and bars. Those with hearing loss have an especially difficult time and tend to shy away from these places in order to avoid putting themselves in a stressful, tiring, and potentially embarrassing situation.
- You don’t go out much anymore. When communicating in public becomes a chore, many people naturally avoid going out in the first place. Retreating from social activities can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression.
If any of these signs applies to you, don’t delay the inevitable. Make an appointment with an audiologist in Phoenix or Scottsdale so you can enjoy a better quality of life!