Are you wondering if your hearing has gotten worse?
Hearing loss is a very serious issue, and if we are not careful about how we mitigate it, it can end up leading to deafness. No matter if you are older or not, hearing problems can arise from a lot of different issues, but one of the most important is the fact that our ears, just like our bodies, age. And depending on how well we hear it, it can be quite aging or even uglier.
When you take into consideration that everything around us can cause problems with our hearing, from cigarette smoke to loud places like concert halls, clubs, or stadiums, it is even easier to see just how easily people can end up having hearing issues. Add the fact that there are certain other health conditions that can lead to you using this sense, and it just makes the whole thing more complicated and, dare we say, a bit scary!
No one wants to think that they are losing their ability to hear well, and we are not saying that you should become paranoid about this, but as we all age, it can become a reality faster than we could imagine. This is why we’ve gathered some of the most common signs that a person is losing their ability to hear, so you’ll be aware if they start happening to you and can see a doctor right away!
In the comments section below, tell us when the last time you had a hearing test was!
1. You are getting clumsier
You actually hear with your inner ear. However, the inner ear is made up of two rooms, and only one of them is responsible for the hearing part of the ear mechanism. The cochlea, which is responsible for your hearing ability, is in one of the rooms, and right next to it is the other one, which hosts the semicircular canals, which are responsible for your balance. The two rooms are connected by a space that is filled with fluid, and this means that if one of them is damaged, then the other one is going to be affected as well.
Because they are so closely connected, once you start to lose your hearing, you will also notice that your balance is no longer as good as it used to be. If you seem to be bumping into things more often, losing your balance, or just not recognizing spaces as well, it may not be that you suddenly got more clumsy but rather that you are having problems with your inner ear.
Balance is affected by your hearing, and before you just write off your newfound clumsiness as just that, make sure you also schedule a hearing exam with your doctor!
2. Talking on the phone seems like a chore
Generally, we can use both of our ears in order to understand and hear all the sounds around us. However, this is not the case when we are talking on the phone. Sure, a lot of us have taken to talking on the phone using headphones, but even then, you may notice that you have to keep raising the volume while still having trouble hearing what the other person is saying.
If you are dreading having to talk on the phone because you cannot hear well, it may not be a sign that your phone is no longer working well but rather that you are experiencing a hearing loss problem in one ear or maybe in both! Not to mention, if you have ear issues, talking on the phone ends up being difficult because these devices do not transmit all the sounds someone makes perfectly, and they also sometimes catch all the background noise as well.
When you combine all of that with not being able to hear well, it ends up being a whole nightmare!
3. You never seem to remember what people have told you
Memory goes hand in hand with hearing. This means that once you start to experience the first signs of hearing loss, you will also notice that your memory is getting worse. Or is it? The truth is that you may end up realizing that you can no longer remember things as well as you used to before you realize that there may be something wrong with your hearing.
Memory problems occur because when you’re struggling to see what people are saying to you, you can no longer make the most of your short-term memory. We generally remember things because we clump together pieces of information, and by making these associations, we end up memorizing things. If you end up using your short-term memory in order to piece together a sentence someone is saying because you cannot hear it well, then you will not be able to remember what the actual message of the sentence was.
People with hearing loss who miss sounds from a sentence end up having to use their memory more and more for the purpose of hearing and understanding conversations, and at some point this will impact the way in which they can remember pieces of information.
So before you think you are starting to lose your memory, make sure that you get a hearing exam. It is possible that you are developing Alzheimer’s as a result of a problem with your ears.
4. People seem to be mumbling more and more around you!
One of the earliest signs that there may be something wrong with your hearing is the fact that you are no longer able to hear high-pitched sounds well. This will lead to you feeling like people around you are mumbling more often than not. Not to mention, it will also bring you to the brink of frustration because you cannot discern high-frequency sounds anymore!
These sounds that we are talking about are consonants and digraphs, which are the ones that are something like “sh” and “ch,” just to name a few. You will be able to hear vowels and softer sounds, but the ones that are a bit more pronounced will be a struggle that is going to make people seem like they are always mumbling instead of talking to you.
To help visualize how this sign may appear to some people who are hard of hearing, a sentence like “The elephant has a long trunk” will sound like “e ele–a– -a- a long run.” Yeah, that sounds horrible even when we try to read it; it’s no wonder people think others are mumbling!
5. Talking in crowded, loud places is suddenly difficult
Let’s be honest: if we are in a place with a lot of background noise, being able to hear what is going on around us can be difficult, even if we are not experiencing hearing loss. Yet, for the people who are dealing with this problem, it becomes even more of a problem. Not only will it be exhausting, but it will also be very difficult to concentrate on the conversation you are participating in or listening to.
This is because one of the skills everyone has is being able to tune out certain types of sounds in order to concentrate on others. This generally happens with sounds like traffic or other low-pitched noises that can be easily ignored. However, if you are at a party or in a restaurant, while you will be able to tune out the music to a certain degree, if you have hearing loss, tuning out some human voices in the background and concentrating on one voice is going to be really hard.
The more this seems to happen to you, the more you should make sure to check in on it. Even after the first time you realize this, it is better to get your hearing checked and find out there is nothing wrong than to end up having more problems down the line.
6. You get easily distracted
It is no wonder why you seem to get distracted more easily when you are having a conversation and you cannot hear it properly. This does not mean that you have lost interest in the conversation or that you are not in the right headspace for it. It could very well be just the fact that your hearing has started to deteriorate, and this whole ordeal makes maintaining a conversation more exhausting.
It is also something we do not realize is happening. Having a conversation with someone actually uses up some of our energy, which is why people with low social energy or introverts get tired after they have been out with friends and family. Now imagine that you cannot hear properly, and in addition to having to be present and engaged in the conversation, you are also using a lot of energy to decode and understand what is being said to you.
At some point, anyone would end up losing their attention and focus, which would lead to being distracted when you are talking with others. It could also happen that you end up tuning them out because you cannot hear everything. If this keeps happening to you, make sure you make that appointment for a hearing evaluation sooner rather than later!
If you want to learn more about living with hearing loss, this book is a good start: Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss
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