Approximately 40 million adults experience disabling hearing loss in the United States, making it a much more common issue than many people first think. To make things worse, hearing loss often tends to worsen very gradually over time, and so can be causing a person problems for many years before they seek medical assistance. In particular, age-related hearing loss can be very difficult to diagnose, with some elderly people living for more than 7 years with considerable hearing loss before getting help from a specialist. The quicker a person gets help for their hearing loss, the more quickly they can access assisted technologies that will make their lives easier and safer.
More often than not, it is a family member or friend that first notices that a person is displaying behavioral signs of hearing loss, prompting them to go to an audiologist. So here are 6 signs of hearing loss to look out for in those close to you.
They keep missing their phone ringing
Hearing loss not only makes it harder for a person to hear certain sounds but can make it harder for them to locate the source of the sound too. This means that people with hearing loss tend to miss their phone ringing or are unable to find their phone when they hear it. If the person you are ringing is constantly saying that they can’t find their phone or they don’t hear it ringing, then this could be a sign that they are suffering from hearing loss.
They have the television turned up very loud
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of hearing loss is a person having their television or radio turned up unpleasantly loud. They themselves will perceive the volume as normal and it is often not until someone with normal hearing walks in and tells them that the volume is extremely loud that they realize how loud they actually have it.
They sit extremely close to the television
If there are other people in the house that are in control of the volume, then another behavioral symptom to look out for is a person subconsciously shifting themselves closer and closer to the television. This is often a sign that they are struggling to hear what is being said and many people do not realize that they are doing it until it is pointed out to them by a third party,
They withdraw in social situations
In large social gatherings or noisy conversations with multiple people, it can be very hard for people with hearing loss to follow a conversation. This often leads to them withdrawing from the interaction by either sitting and eating in silence or taking themselves to the edge of the gathering where things are a little quieter and they have more chance of hearing what is being said to them. Hearing loss can be very isolating and is closely linked to a higher chance of depression and so it is important to ensure that the person gets help so that they can feel included once more.
They stare at your lips when you talk to them
Lip reading is a very common hearing loss communication technique, helping the person to make out words and sentences even when they are struggling to hear the sound. The human brain is very clever when it comes to alternative communication techniques, and so many people with hearing loss learn to lip read without even knowing that they are doing so. If you suspect that a person is suffering from hearing loss, then have a conversation with them and see if they keep eye contact with you or are looking at your lips.
They keep asking you to repeat yourself
Not every person with hearing loss is able to lip read, and so as their hearing loss worsens they may find themselves repeatedly asking you to repeat yourself. We all miss words every now and then, but if it starts to happen a lot of the time, then this could be an indication that there is an underlying problem with their hearing.
These are just six signs of hearing loss to look out for in those close to you, and more often than not they present themselves in groups rather than independently. If you notice these signs in someone you know, then speak with them about seeing their audiologist who will be able to provide them with a hearing test and can then fit them with a hearing aid or other assistive technology to restore some of their hearing.