As we get older, experiencing changes in our hearing is common. But we must remember that it is not something that happens overnight. When we are concerned that we are on the road to developing some form of hearing problem, we have to pay attention to the initial signs. If you believe you are experiencing some form of hearing loss, it's important to look at the following four signs:

You cannot follow conversations in noisy environments 

If you spend a lot of time in social functions, and you are experiencing difficulties following the conversation or you have noticed that you are straining to focus on one person in a group, you may be experiencing a form of hearing loss. Background noise in social functions like restaurants is low-pitched and letters in speech, such as the letters F and S are high-pitched. If you are experiencing issues hearing the higher tones, this is due to how the brain processes sound. If you cannot hear the higher tones, it can be harder to ignore the background noise. 

You are not making eye contact 

We must remember that the brain is working hard to compensate for a lack of any senses, especially when it comes to our hearing. When one sense doesn't work like it used to, we try to fill in the gaps subconsciously. If you are watching people's lips rather than making eye contact, this is another crucial sign. For example, if you picture the shape of somebody's lips when they say the letter P or F, you can picture the sounds in your mind’s eye, even if you're not able to hear them. 

Additionally, if you experience exhaustion after social events such as meeting friends in a restaurant or having conversations tires you out because you are trying to focus, this is because the brain is using a lot of energy to get you to concentrate. If you are experiencing fatigue after social functions, it's important to speak to an audiologist. 

The volume on the TV is gradually going up 

Television shows will provide a wide variety of tones and pitches. Watching any TV show with a lot of dialogue, music and sound effects means that each noise may compete for your focus. If there is excessive volume during a particular scene, as well as a wide variety of sound effects, and you are struggling to follow what the characters are saying, naturally, our inclination is to turn the volume up. But if everyone around you is starting to point out that the television is too loud for comfort, it may be time to get your hearing checked. 

Younger voices sound unclear 

Children have higher-pitched voices. As we get older, the cochlea, the organ that helps us hear, tends to be the first organ to fail and one of the first signs of hearing loss is the inability to hear higher pitches. If you notice that children's and women's voices sound muffled or unclear, or you are not hearing your microwave beep, these can be signs that you have hearing loss.

What can we do? 

As hearing loss affects approximately 48 million Americans, it is important that we take a proactive approach to protect our hearing. If you are experiencing hearing loss, you need to book an appointment with an audiologist to conduct a hearing test. An audiologist is someone that can tell you for sure if you need a hearing aid, but they can also help you live your life better by providing you with techniques to get the most out of social situations and when you are at home. 

Experiencing hearing loss does not have to be a part of getting older. Some people experience hearing loss suddenly, especially if they expose themselves to prolonged noise. With the fact that so many people experience some form of hearing loss, it should be a priority for anyone with any concerns to book a hearing test. 

An audiologist is someone that can help you every step of the way by conducting rigorous hearing tests, so you can understand if you are experiencing a severe level of hearing loss. If you want to learn more about Sommerville Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, call us today at 586-298-3788 to book a hearing test. Hearing aids can be a lifesaver when we are experiencing hearing loss, but many people need to be aware of the signs. If you are experiencing any of these four signs, now might be the time to protect what is left of your hearing.