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Hearing Loss Signs and Symptoms

Causes for hearing loss:

Hearing loss happens for different reasons. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age. This condition is known as presbycusis (prez-buh-KYOO-sis). Doctors do not know why presbycusis affects some people more than others, but it seems to run in families. Another reason for hearing loss with aging may be years of exposure to loud noise. This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Many construction workers, farmers, musicians, automotive workers, landscapers, and people in the military have hearing loss even in their younger and middle years because of exposure to loud noises. Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions, stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines.

Symptoms of hearing loss: The symptoms of hearing loss are:

Having to ask others to repeat what they have said
Experiencing difficulty understanding others, especially in noisy environments.
Turning up the television or radio in order to hear better.
Having the feeling that, even though things are loud enough, they are still unclear, making it difficult to understand.
Friends and family express frustration when they are communicating with you.

Hearing loss should be immediately evaluated if it occurs suddenly, is accompanied by noises in your ears or dizziness, or is more noticeable in one ear.

Do you…

Ask people to repeat what they say
Have trouble following the conversation in groups
Think others are mumbling
Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio
Have difficulty on the phone
Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock
Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies
Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
These are common reactions and can lead to withdrawal from social interaction, anxiety, loss of self-esteem and even depression.
“I can hear but can’t understand.”

Other things to consider

For most adults, the onset and progression of a hearing loss extend over some time. Therefore, one’s family and friends are likely to be the first to notice some difficulty hearing, long before the person does.

People will not be aware of what they don’t hear (like the sounds of birds, the beep of the microwave). They will be aware that they do not understand speech, as when they say, “I can hear but can’t understand.”

The person with hearing loss will notice difficulty in understanding when someone talks from another room.

Probably, the major complaint of people with hearing loss is the difficulty they experience in comprehending speech in any kind of noisy place (restaurants, receptions, large family dinners, in the car, or on a plane).
Group conversations are particularly difficult, especially when there is a great deal of cross-talk.

Family members frequently complain that the TV volume is set too high, leading to some family squabbles.

These increasing difficulties in hearing may produce conflict with family members, as the family insists on getting help and the person with hearing loss is reluctant to recognize the reality. This stage may last for seven or more years before the hearing loss and ongoing subsequent issues are acknowledged and help is sought.

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