Hearing is one of the major ways that we are able to interact with the world. When most people hear the word “communication” they usually think of solely the action of talking. It’s much more than that, and a big part of it relates to how we are able to hear others. Many don’t even realize that they’re suffering from any form of hearing loss or damage because it’s something that’s part of our somatic nervous system. We’re constantly using it without even realizing it, yet it’s in a constant threat of danger if left unprotected in areas of dangerous sound levels. There’s many ways that people can lose their hearing outside of old age and disease. The most common is due to what’s known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This happens from being in constant close proximity to loud machinery or even from a one-time “offense” from not having hearing protection around gunfire or an explosion. The following will go over simple signs you can look for in yourself and others in order to know if a hearing test is necessary or not.
- If you’re constantly asking for people to repeat what they’re saying, this is a fairly obvious sign something is amiss. The people you’re having the conversation with may initially think you’re just simply ignoring them, i.e. “selective hearing.” The reality is after a while people will start noticing that their friend or loved one has some form of serious hearing damage. Usually womens or childrens voices are the first that become difficult for them to identify. It’s not just a loss for you, as your loved ones and family members will soon get tired of having to repeat themselves over and over again.
- Another ones that’s easy to spot is having issues in noisy places. A few good examples of these would be bars, concerts, sports games and restaurants. In these crowded and often loud environments, there’s obviously a lot going on. If you have issues discerning what your significant other is saying to you from across the table, there may be some hearing issues to get looked at. Also if you are a relatively outgoing person, and you all of a sudden stop going to your favorite hangout because of a poor excuse, it may end up being your hearing. Telling your loved ones you have some form of hearing loss makes many uncomfortable and embarrassed. Now take that same feeling and magnify it when you’re out in a public setting possibly with new people.
- It may be comical to some but if you have a tendency to raise the volume on audio devices, you many want to take a better look. Things such as music on your phone, radio or car as well as just simply your TV. We all like to listen to our favorite song louder than normal, but if you’re making it a normal everyday thing a hearing test may be in your future. Understand that by listening through these devices at such high decibels can result in some form of damage.Having some form of ringing in your ears is another indicator that you may have encountered hearing loss as well. Tinnitus is a very serious side effect from NIHL, and to date there is still no 100% cure. The ringing can be randomized or constant as well as the the sound heard can be a beep, ring or click.There are ways to manage it and live with it, but your hearing will never be 100% the same again. This is why it is so vitally important to have safety protocols in place to ensure that there your ears don’t go unprotected in areas that they shouldn’t.
- Not hearing common and everyday sounds would make a quick determination for hearing damage. Simple things such as not hearing cars driving by if you live on a busy street, your phone or doorbell ringing, missing your daily workouts because you slept through your alarm, and not hearing notifications for important work emails may mean to go have your hearing tested.
- If having face to face conversation is difficult, then having them on the phone will prove to be just as much of an issue. If you start finding yourself ignoring phone calls out of embarrassment, then go see an audiologist.
Your Hearing, Your Health
Life can be hectic at times and for most the last thing people want to do is to spend time in a doctors office getting a checkup done they originally think they don’t need. Your hearing is only as safe as long as you are willing to take the steps necessary to protect it. In the end, a simple hearing test is your best bet for setting yourself up for success in the future.