Some common signs and symptoms of hearing loss can give us the warning we need to start our hearing journey sooner rather than later.

Top Warning Signs of Hearing Loss | Alaska-Based Doctor of Audiology Answers

07/10/2024 | Hearing Loss

Recognizing hearing loss early is important, as hearing loss can impact many areas of your life, some of which you may not even realize! Hearing loss not only affects communication, but also our ability to socialize effectively, understand crucial information given to us by those who care, and even our day-to-day mood and energy levels. Some common signs and symptoms of hearing loss can give us the warning we need to start our hearing journey sooner rather than later. Early detection of hearing loss is the best predictor of appropriate treatment and positive outcomes for our patients. 

Some common hearing loss signs include asking for frequent repetition, knowing that someone is speaking to you but being unsure what they are saying, having others report your TV volume is very loud, wanting to stay in quieter restaurants or controlled environments because it is easier for you, and feeling very tired at the end of the day.  

Let’s focus on each symptom individually:  

Asking for frequent repetition can be a sign of hearing loss as it indicates that you are struggling with hearing all components of a sentence, particularly if you are caught off guard by the start of a conversation. In a similar vein, knowing that someone has initiated conversation with you, but missing the beginning of the sentence, is another clear indicator that your hearing may have declined recently. In these situations, when hearing loss is present, our brain is spending so much time trying to understand the start of the sentence that it forgets to keep listening to the rest of the sentence! 

If someone reports that your TV is louder than they prefer, it may be a sign that the television volume has crept up recently and is now loud to an average normal-hearing individual. If you turn the TV down and start struggling to understand, that can be a clear sign of hearing loss in its early stages. 

Those who are beginning to have difficulty due to hearing loss are more likely to choose familiar and quiet environments rather than be adventurous. This is because they have more control over their location and are used to the variable sound levels within that location, allowing them to better compensate for any hearing difficulties. 

Finally, if you are extremely tired at the end of your day, it could be a sign of something called listening fatigue. When your brain is working overtime because of a hearing loss to understand those talking to you, that takes up a lot more energy compared to when you could hear easily, and it is a sign your hearing may have declined. 

Now that you know some of the early warning signs, who are those most at risk for hearing loss?  

It is recommended that individuals who are 55 years or older, or at 65 at the latest, get annual hearing evaluations to establish their hearing baseline. Once over the age of 55, we have a higher chance of age-related hearing loss being present. Additionally, those who are in very noisy professions or enjoy particularly loud hobbies (such as concerts or shooting firearms) are also at an increased risk due to the noise exposure they have endured. However, the earlier an individual establishes a baseline, the more accurately we can determine when hearing loss occurs and the sooner we can treat it.

If you, or someone you love, suspect you may have a hearing loss, we recommend you contact your nearest audiologist for a full hearing evaluation. They will be able to tell you if hearing loss is present, and what your next steps should be to obtain the best outcome for your individual situation.  

Ultimately, we encourage everyone to get a baseline hearing test as soon as possible, so never be afraid to reach out, even before these warning signs appear! If this article has sparked you to take action, please feel free to request a callback or call us at (907) 522-4357 to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation!

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Dr. Haley Shirley

Haley Shirley is a Doctor of Audiology based in Anchorage. Haley holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Kent State University. She recently graduated from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium (NOAC), earning her Doctorate of Audiology and a Certificate in Gerontology. During her tenure at NOAC, Haley accrued substantial experience across a diverse range of clinical settings. Her professional interests currently focus on hearing diagnostics, hearing aids, and tinnitus management. An active participant in her educational community, Haley dedicated two years as the Education Committee Chair for NOAC's Student Academy of Audiology and spent three years tutoring both undergraduate and graduate courses in math, biology, and audiology. Haley is a member of the Ohio Academy of Audiology, the Student Academy of Audiology, and The Gerontological Society of America, actively contributing to the advancement of her field.

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