Hearing loss can progress slowly over time. Sometimes it is family and friends that notice signs of hearing loss before the person whose hearing is deteriorating. If you are worried about your hearing, or someone close to you has raised concerns about it, you are not alone. According to Better Hearing Australia, hearing loss affects almost one in every six people. The good news is that technology has resulted in significant improvements in the effectiveness of hearing aids. They are smaller, lighter and less easily seen too. Here are some signs you may need a hearing aid:
1. You have difficulty with conversations. People may seem to mumble and you may have to ask people to speak up or repeat things. You may misunderstand things others say or find you have to watch their face carefully as they speak. The higher pitched voices of children and some women may be especially difficult to hear.
2. You find social situations stressful or tiring. The need to focus hard on what people are saying, and the worry or embarrassment of misunderstanding others can drain your energy. You may feel like avoiding social contact that you used to enjoy.
3. You have trouble hearing in noisy places. Even a mild hearing loss can make it harder to focus on voices over background noise. Parties, crowds, speaking in the car or with the TV on can be challenging.
4. You need to have the TV or radio up loudly. If you need to turn the volume up to a level that other people find annoying or uncomfortable your hearing may have a problem.
5. You have ringing in your ears. Ringing sounds or 'tinnitus' is not only annoying; it can also be a sign of hearing loss.
If you are concerned that your hearing is not as good as it used to be the first step is to see a trained audiologist. They can assess the health of your ears and make sure there are no physical or medical issues affecting your hearing which may respond to medical treatment. They can then assess your level of hearing and offer advice about whether a hearing aid would be helpful for you. To find out more, speak to your health care provider or contact Better Hearing for information about local providers of hearing tests. It may be the first step to putting the enjoyment back into each day.