Getting older is no fun. Most of us find that as we get older, our bodies change in many ways – some good, some not so good. Oftentimes, these changes occur very gradually over time and are almost unnoticeable until it’s too late. Being able to recognize these changes and proactively curb their effects becomes important to maintaining a quality standard of life.
As we grow older, the ability to hear with the same clarity we had when we were younger often deteriorates. Over time, sounds become more muffled, voices become less clear and understanding the noises we hear becomes just a little more difficult to understand. According to the latest statistics, approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 and nearly half of those older than 75 has hearing loss. Those numbers make age-related hearing loss one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.
Oftentimes people with hearing loss will simply adjust their lifestyle to hide their hearing loss by removing themselves from social situations, and avoiding conversations with others unless absolutely necessary. This can lead to greater issues, especially when having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, respond to warnings, and hear phones, doorbells, and smoke alarms. Hearing loss can also make it hard to enjoy talking with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation. Fortunately, for most folks being fitted with a hearing aid can be a solution to help combat the effects of age-related hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally. Because the loss is gradual, if you have age-related hearing loss you may not realize that you’ve lost some of your ability to hear. Therefore, by understanding the challenges that your potential hearing loss can cause and learning what you can do to counter it, you can dramatically change your lifestyle for the better and help make your golden years as good as can be.
Here are twelve signs that can help you determine that your hearing loss has progressed to the point that hearing aids might be necessary to restore some of the things you have been missing:
- Telephone - If you find the volume setting on your phone is always at or near max, and you still have trouble understanding some voices, it's highly likely you have treatable hearing loss.
- T.V. - The dialog in movies being masked by the soundtrack indicates a problem in your ability to focus on speech in noise, which is a symptom of hearing loss. Turning up the volume until family and friends complain is also a sure sign hearing aids will help you.
- Intimate conversation – If whispers and softly spoken words have become impossible to understand if the speaker is more than an arm's length away, you’re missing out on some of life’s best moments because of hearing loss.
- Vehicle conversation – When road noise strains road-trip conversations, especially between front seat and back seat passengers, there’s a problem. It’s time to check both the vehicle and your ears.
- Restaurants - Choosing where to dine by ambient noise levels, rather than food quality, is a coping mechanism common in the hearing-impaired community. Wearing hearing aids with advanced noise reduction can be a huge help in difficult listening environments.
- Activities – Are your habits changing because of your hearing? When your favorite pastime becomes more work than fun it may be due to all the effort you are putting in just to hear and keep your head in the game.
- Asking people to repeat – If asking “What?” is becoming a chore for you and an irritant to friends and family the ‘best’ time to do something about your hearing problem has already passed.
- Children – As a group, children voices have more high frequency components than any other. And since high frequency hearing loss is the most common type, hearing aids can make understanding the youngsters around you possible again.
- Reading lips - Although everyone reads lips to some degree, hearing-impaired people come to depend on it. If you experience difficultly understanding the person speaking if they are not facing you than you may be using eyesight to compensate for hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids makes it easier to focus on the speaker’s eyes instead of their lips.
- Alarms - Electric devices have become such a big part of life we've come to depend on them. Unfortunately, the way these devises communicate with us is through high frequency tones, beeps, clicks, etc. High frequency hearing loss, from noise damage and aging, is by far the most common type of hearing loss. You may notice missing what the surrounding machines are saying more than the surrounding people.
- Antisocial behavior - Your lifestyle takes a hit if you are avoiding people due the effort it takes to hold a conversation. It is well documented that long-term hearing loss negatively affects social, psychological, and cognitive functions.
- Happiness – Most people derive pleasure from interacting with loved ones, participating in group activities, and a lifetime of earning a comfortable living. Untreated hearing loss puts these positive aspects of our lives at risk.
Treating hearing loss is easier and less expensive than ever. Hearing aids are becoming more powerful and affordable and are a proven solution to helping to improve your communications with loved ones, hear your electronic devices and enjoy quality time in your favorite restaurants!