Do I Need a Hearing Aid? 9 Signs That Say You DoPublished On: June 19, 2019
You may think that most people would notice if they have some form of hearing loss. The truth is one quarter of people between age 20 and 69 show signs of hearing loss but simply don’t realize it.
Perhaps you’re one of these people and may have even been wondering if you need a hearing aid. There are definitely some warning signs to watch out for in your everyday life and interactions with others that can indicate a need for a hearing device.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “Do I need a hearing aid?” lately read on to learn the common warning signs of hearing loss that indicate you should have your hearing tested.
1. You’re Cranking the Volume
It’s fun to turn up the volume when your favorite tunes come on. However, if other people are complaining that your radio, television, and computer speakers are too loud for them, you may have a hearing problem.
What’s worse, repeatedly cranking up the dial on entertainment devices can cause noise-related hearing loss in loved ones who live with you while making yours worse. Repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels is all it takes to hurt our hearing. Normal conversation is usually 60 decibels so it doesn’t take much more to cause damage.
And while it’s normal to occasionally have a hard time hearing someone on the phone, if you’re constantly putting the volume up no matter who you’re talking to, that’s another cue to have your hearing tested.
This is usually one of the first signs that your hearing has become diminished. If you also find yourself relying constantly on your TV’s closed captioning feature to fully understand what’s being said on the screen, that’s another indication that you may want to get a hearing test done.
2. People Must Constantly Repeat Themselves
If you’re frequently asking “What?” or asking people to repeat themselves in conversation, then you may have a hearing problem. This can be a frustrating situation for others as well as yourself. It can be emotionally exhausting not to mention embarrassing when you’re unable to hear what someone is saying, even if they’re speaking clearly and loudly enough.
It also puts stress on other people and they may even avoid conversations with you so that they don’t have to shout and draw unwanted attention to themselves. Some people with hearing loss resort to simply nodding when something is said to them, even if they didn’t hear a word. This can further cause others to withdraw from social situations with you.
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to social isolation and even depression. On the flip side, studies show that people who received hearing aids reported a lift in their mood and improved relationships at home. Their families reported a vast improvement across all areas as well.
To ensure you maintain quality relationships with loved ones and family and enjoy a quality life, have your hearing tested.
3. You Hear People, But Can’t Understand Them
It’s common for people with hearing loss to think they’re hearing one word when in reality the person speaking to them said a different one. A sentence as simple as, “Do you own a cat?” can sound like, “Do you phone a hat?”
Some people experience hearing loss when listening to higher pitched sounds, but can still clearly hear low or mid-pitched sounds. Women and children tend to have higher pitched voices, so if you’re having a hard time understanding them this can indicate a hearing problem.
Hearing loss makes certain words tough to comprehend, particularly those that contain “th”, “s”, and other letters that require our tongues to form them. It’s easy to confuse them with similar sounding ones when you can’t hear properly.
You may also find it hard or even impossible to hear someone talking when they’re in another room or when they speak in a hushed voice.
4. You Can’t Hear in Public or Noisy Places
If you can’t hear what’s being said when you attend a movie, play, religious service, or speech, you should definitely be tested for a hearing issue.
People presenting themselves to others usually speak loudly enough so the whole room can hear them or they use a microphone and speakers. This is noticeably louder than regular one-on-one conversation for someone with normal hearing. If you’re struggling to understand what’s being said when the rest of the audience is reacting normally, you most likely have hearing loss.
You may also have a hard time hearing and answering questions from service employees when you’re shopping, eating out, and running errands. Other public gathering spots such as restaurants and bars may prove overwhelming because of the background noise competing with a conversation with your companions.
Not addressing hearing loss can have a real impact on your enjoyment of social activities and interaction with others. It’s not fun to attend a musical or theater play if you can’t understand the lines being said, especially when the rest of the audience is laughing or clapping in response.
5. You Can’t Understand Group Conversations
Someone with normal hearing is usually able to follow along when several people are contributing to a conversation. It’s easier for them to focus and hear more than one person talking at the same time.
People with hearing loss, however, struggle to hear more than one person talking at once and find group conversations nearly impossible to understand. Some people naturally speak in a voice that is louder than others and some speak faster than others. These nuances can complicate things further for a hearing-impaired person.
You might find yourself tempted to sit closer to one person to hear what they’re saying or you may be too embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves. The setting’s background noise may also be overwhelming and crowd out any spoken conversation.
In any case, participating in a group conversation is nearly impossible when you can’t hear properly. The best hearing aids can definitely help minimize background noises and make spoken words much clearer to understand.
6. You Have Ringing in the Ears
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, doesn’t always indicate a loss of hearing. However, it’s important to note that a significant 90% of people with tinnitus have hearing that is damaged by noise exposure.
Tinnitus doesn’t always sound like ringing. If you experience buzzing, whistling, or other sounds in the ear that tend to be more noticeable when you’re in a very quiet environment you may have the medical condition.
Tinnitus is usually caused by repeated exposure to loud noise. Construction workers, carpenters, musicians, and pilots are just some of the professions that can develop tinnitus. Anyone working around loud machinery without using noise-canceling headphones to protect the ears is at risk of developing it.
These loud noises penetrate the cochlea deep within the ear and actually wear away the little hairs in it, leading to hearing loss.
The condition isn’t always caused by loud noise exposure. Certain medications, wax build-up, and even aging can bring on tinnitus.
If you are experiencing its symptoms, however, you should have your hearing checked just in case. It may just be a sign you could use a hearing aid. There are also hearing aids for tinnitus that will dampen the irritating sounds caused by the condition.
7. You’re Starting to Read Lips
If you find yourself starting to rely on facial expressions and hand gestures when people speak to you to make out words, that’s another sign you need help with your hearing. People with hearing loss may begin to read lips when others talk for extra visual help to assist their ears.
Even if you become an expert lip reader, this doesn’t mean you don’t need a hearing aid. There are always going to be social situations where you won’t be able to see a person’s lips, such as speaking on the phone.
8. You Can No Longer Hear Common Daily Sounds
The daily hum of traffic. Children laughing while waiting for the school bus. Birds chirping at the break of dawn and throughout the day.
These are all sounds that many people take for granted or may even be annoyed by. But when you’re experiencing hearing loss, you miss out on and may even miss certain sounds.
Maybe you can no longer hear your phone’s ringtone or the notification when you receive a text. Or, your cat’s meow or purring. The ticking of a clock goes silent when you can’t hear it.
Most of us don’t realize what we’ve lost until it’s gone. Hearing sounds that are part of our daily lives and routine can make it that much more comforting. If you’ve noticed you’re no longer hearing regular everyday noises, you should have your hearing checked.
9. People Close to You Are Starting to Get Frustrated
This sign can be a tough one to come to terms with, but the truth is it can become very draining for loved ones to live with someone who is hard of hearing. If a spouse or partner has started to complain or get annoyed that you can’t understand them, that’s definitely indicative of hearing loss.
Since communication is the backbone of any relationship, not being able to effectively communicate can cause stress. Relationships suffer when one or both people cannot hear.
You need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. If you had to repeat things and raise your voice constantly, how would it feel? No doubt you can imagine that you’d be frustrated and emotionally worn out.
Raising their voice may not be a big deal for people who only see you on occasion, but for those who live with you, this can be tiresome.
Even Helen Keller once remarked that “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” Receive a hearing test to prevent this from happening to you.
Do I Need a Hearing Aid? What to Expect During a Hearing Aid Test
If you’re experiencing one, several, or all of the above nine signs, it’s definitely time to have your hearing tested. Having your hearing tested is also one of the ways you can take care of your ear health.
If you’re afraid of what to expect or that it may hurt, fear not: A hearing test is completely painless and relatively non-intrusive.
You’ll need to visit a licensed audiologist (most reputable hearing aid centers use them to assess your condition.) They’ll examine the outside and inside of your ears, then place earphones on you. Using a variety of equipment, they’ll test your hearing ability and study how well you hear certain words, vowels, noise pitch levels, and more.
They’ll also determine how well your hearing holds up in various conversation settings including when someone is speaking from another room.
The audiologist will also be able to tell you if the hearing in one ear is stronger than the other. They’ll then discuss all of your options for appropriate hearing aid models depending upon your level of hearing loss, your budget, and preferences. They will also review hearing aid care and maintenance with you.
The right hearing aid for you and your type of loss will address all of your needs. Most modern hearing aids have been designed so that they’re compatible with phone usage and have adjustable volume control. They’re also far more comfortable than hearing aids that were available decades ago.
Putting off a hearing aid test is definitely something you don’t want to delay. Having your hearing examined and knowing your options will put you on the path to living life to the fullest again. Being able to hear everyone and everything going on around you is an important part of a life well lived and enjoyed.
Learn More About Hearing Aids
Now that you know the answer to “Do I need a hearing aid?” you may be curious to learn more about the numerous hearing aid brands and models on the market. We have plenty of reviews, tips, and news about the latest hearing aids to help give you a clearer picture of what may be right for you.
Read the latest posts on our blog to stay updated on everything going on in the hearing aid industry!