If you’re struggling with hearing problems, now is the time to do something about it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the nation. In the U.S., 40 million adults between 20 to 69 years old have noise-induced hearing loss. In addition, about one in four adults who report “excellent to good” hearing have some degree of hearing damage. There are several ways to tell whether or not you may be suffering from hearing loss. Some of these indicators include:
Sounds Seem Muted or Muffled
If you are struggling to understand what sounds and words you’re hearing, it’s possible this may be due to hearing damage. Before jumping to any conclusions, consider the fact that muffled hearing could be due to an ear infection, earwax, or Eustachian tube dysfunction (temporary hearing difficulty due to pressure change.) If you are not affected by any of these hearing obstacles, you may have a more permanent form of hearing loss.
High Pitched Sounds are Hard to Hear
One way of discovering hearing loss is addressing your ability to hear things like birds, the telephone, doorbells, alarm clocks, etc. Trouble hearing these common noises can be one signal that you may have hearing damage.
Volume is on Full Blast
Speech Consonants are Hard to Distinguish
If you have to listen to your music on the loudest volume setting or are constantly turning up the volume while watching TV, this may be a sign that you should get a hearing checkup. People who suffer from hearing loss find it difficult to listen to these things on a lower volume setting which signals a hearing problem. Long exposure to loud noise can be very harmful on your eardrums and can damage the cells of your inner ear.
Hearing loss can cause difficultly in recognizing the difference between “s” and “f,” “p” ant “t,” or “sh” and “th” in speech. If you believe you have a tough time distinguishing these consonants in your everyday conversations, be sure to talk with your doctor about possible hearing loss.
Even if you do sometimes find it hard to hear, you may not be impaired. If you are, however, experiencing hearing troubles on a constant basis, there are ways to help prevent further hearing loss.
Use Hearing Protection Devices
Take Breaks From Loud Noise
Talk to a Doctor
If you know you will be exposed to loud noises, wear earplugs or earmuffs in order to prevent loud volumes to further weaken your hearing. Blocking your ear canals will help to lessen the severity of the noise surrounding you and better protect your ears.
If you are exposed to loud noises, take breaks away from them to protect your ears. Before being exposed to loud noise, consider checking the Maximum job-noise exposure allowed by law chart to know how long you should be exposed to this noise.
Hearing loss can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Talking to your primary care doctor is the first step. Your doctor may refer you to an audiologist who can help you discover the best method to improve your hearing and prevent any further damage.