Feel like you’re always out of the loop because you can’t hear what people are saying or get told off by your family for turning the volume on the TV up too loud? You could be suffering from hearing loss.
Qualified audiologist Tania Rodrigues explains how you can spot the signs before it’s too late.
Hearing loss and going deaf – what happens?
Hearing loss is a full or partial loss of the ability to detect sound and it is most commonly caused by an abnormality associated with the anatomy or function of the ear.
Losing your hearing is often a gradual process and you others might notice it before you do. It’s estimated that there are approximately four million people in the UK with an undiagnosed hearing loss who could benefit from using a hearing aid.
Five ways to spot hearing loss
• You’re asking people to repeat themselves or using “what?” or “huh?” frequently.
You increase the TV or music volume to unreasonably loud levels or sit close to the TV when the volume is adequate for others.
• You intently watch the faces of speakers or can’t locate the source of a sound accurately.
• You have difficulty understanding what is being said in noisy places such as in pubs or restaurants, even though other people manage to have conversations. You may also actively shy away from participating in conversations.
• You don’t respond to voices over the telephone or switch ears continually when using the phone.
How to look after your hearing
The ear is a very fragile structure and while it’s not always possible to prevent hearing loss from developing as a result of age, illness or a genetic hearing impairment, it’s predicted that around half of hearing loss cases could be prevented by following a few simple steps:
• Use ear protection such as ear defenders if you work in a noisy environment where it’s too loud to hold a normal speaking-volume conversation.
• Wear earplugs at loud concerts or night clubs - you should never be left with a ringing in your ears after listening to music.
• Don’t insert objects such as fingers, cotton buds, cotton wool or tissue into your ears.
• Monitor the volume levels on your television, home stereo or car sound system. Opt for headphones that block out external noise rather than ones that require you to turn up the volume.
• Get your hearing checked regularly, as you would your eyesight, to identify changes as soon as they arise.