Do people seem to mumble or speak too softly much of the time? Do family members get tired of repeating themselves? If so, consider getting your hearing checked. Hearing aids can help — and they’re improving all the time.
While they can’t restore your hearing, hearing aids will help you hear sounds you previously had trouble detecting. They can help you keep up with all the conversations going on around you.
The thing is, you may miss out on more than a few words or sentences.
How does your hearing loss affect you?
There are sometimes serious medical and psychological consequences of hearing loss if it isn’t managed early, says audiologist Craig Newman, PhD, Vice Chair and Section Head of Allied Hearing, Speech, and Balance Services at Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers have found that reduced hearing may be associated with cognitive decline. Those with hearing loss often have a poorer spatial awareness, which could increase a person’s risk of falling, he says.
There’s also the danger of a reduced awareness of what’s going on around you.
“If you don’t hear well and are driving, you won’t hear the sirens of an ambulance or a police car,” Dr. Newman says. “If you’re walking, you won’t hear people running behind you or riding bicycles behind you as easily.”
Some people with hearing loss compensate by avoiding activities and social settings. But you shouldn’t just give up on the things you enjoy doing, he says.
“If you withdraw from social situations, it could create social isolation and potentially lead to withdrawal and possibly even depression,” Dr. Newman says. “Wearing hearing aids will keep you connected to family, friends and co-workers and allow you to participate in your favorite activities.”
How to tell if you’re having hearing problems
Here are five warning signs that you may suffer from hearing loss:
- You frequently think others are mumbling
- Your often strain to hear someone speak
- You ask people to repeat themselves, especially when you’re in a noisy setting, such as a restaurant or during family gatherings
- You crank up the volume on the television or radio — louder than others in the room find comfortable
- You have difficulty hearing at movies, theaters, or at other large social gatherings
“If you’re experiencing any of these social or situational problems, you should get evaluated by an audiologist,” Dr. Newman says. If you need hearing aids, he or she can help you choose the best kind.