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5 Signs it’s Time for a Hearing Test
As we age, changes are inevitable. Whether those changes are in our lifestyle, our relationships or our health, part of making the best of our ever evolving lives is making sure we’re prepared and taking the right steps forward.
Just like other changes that come along later in life, recognizing and understanding hearing loss can be a longer and more complicated process than we might first expect. After all, hearing loss is usually gradual rather than sudden, so we often fall victim to the “frog in boiling water” situation of simply not recognizing the signals that tell us something has changed.
If you’re reading this, though, chances are you’ve already begun to recognize those signals, and are already looking for what those next steps might look like. You are certainly not alone – 30 percent of adults age 65 experience some level of hearing loss, but with many waiting as long as seven years to seek treatment. At this stage in your journey, you’re already ahead of the game. Part of moving forward with hearing loss is making that first connection with a hearing specialist – and going for a hearing exam. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for a free hearing test if you’ve experienced these tell-tale signs of hearing loss.
1. Certain sounds and frequencies aren’t like they used to be.
Although it would certainly make things easier to understand, hearing loss usually doesn’t happen uniformly across all types of sound. One person might be experiencing changes in how they perceive higher pitched sounds like children’s voices or certain music, while others will find themselves struggling to hear lower pitches. Most likely, though, the kinds of things you listen to haven’t changed dramatically over the past few years, so if you’re beginning to notice a challenge where you didn’t before, it could be a sign of hearing loss.
Pay attention to certain kinds of sounds to gauge what kinds of changes you might be experiencing. Is it the sounds of birds chirping, or a child’s voice? Is it the sound of a cello or violin in orchestral music? A change in certain frequencies without change in others can still mean that you’re experiencing hearing loss, so pay close attention to your whole hearing experience.
2. There are changes in how you listen to music and TV.
Hearing and perceiving sound is a very big part of how we enjoy our lives. Some of the most rewarding activities we take part in as we grow older engage all of our senses, and hearing is an integral part of most of them. Following great television shows or enjoying new music is part of the joy of living life, but it can also be one of the first things we notice a change in when we start experiencing hearing loss.
Thankfully, things like music and television make it easy to see changes, even if they’re gradual. Since most radios, televisions and music players have volume settings that have visible levels for reference, we can actually see when there is a change over time. Pay close attention to how many extra bars you’ve added to the volume level on those devices as compared to a few months ago. If there’s been a steady increase, it might be a sign that it’s time for a hearing test.
3. It’s harder to focus on one sound when there’s a lot of background noise.
Silence might be golden, but in this day and age, it’s hardly common. The blissful experience of minimal sound is probably something you experience only once in a blue moon. The remainder of the day, we’re listening to and perceiving sound from many different sources at the same time.
As we age, relationships become incredibly important, and part of maintaining and strengthening relationships is by interacting with the people we love. Unfortunately, much of that interaction happens with many people at the same time, which can pose quite a challenge for those experiencing hearing loss. It is very likely that you’ve been in situations in the past few months where you were talking with people while others chatted in the background, or in an environment that was noisy like a restaurant or park.
These kinds of situations can be perfect indicators of possible hearing loss, since a major side effect of hearing loss is new challenges in understanding speech or focusing attention on specific sounds in a noisy environment. Pay attention the next time you’re with a group of people – is it harder now to listen to one person while another is talking? It might not just be your attention span that makes it difficult.
4.Phone calls are a headache.
Many people have children and grandchildren who live in other cities or states, and they find themselves keeping in touch with loved ones via phone calls and the Internet. Skype calls, text messages and telephone conversations become one of the major ways we stay in touch with those that might be farther away, and it’s an important part of maintaining close relationships with those in other parts of the country or world. So if telephone calls with loved ones are no longer a joy, but rather a struggle, it can affect those relationships we are trying to foster.
If you’re hanging up the phone with a grimace and not a smile (even after a perfectly enjoyable conversation) then it might be a sign that hearing loss is part of the problem. Just like televisions and music players, telephones and cell phones have volume settings, so if you find yourself constantly looking for the button to turn up the sound, this is probably a good sign that it’s time for a hearing test.
5.Your friends and family are noticing a difference.
Accepting we may have a hearing loss isn’t easy, and for many, it is tempting to believe that people mumbling or our cell phone is to blame for our difficulties communicating. Even if all of the signs above might have already become obvious to you, you might still find yourself hemming and hawing over whether or not to book a free hearing test with one of Lifestyle Hearing Solution’s professionals. But hearing isn’t just about your own experience – even minor hearing loss can start to have an impact on our friends and family. Having to constantly speak louder and repeat oneself while communicating with a friend or family member with a hearing loss can be quite draining on a person over time.
Most that experience hearing loss will find the people around them noticing the difference before they do. Take these important signals into consideration – and if you’re contemplating whether to get a hearing test, simply asking your loved ones can be the boost you need. After all, finding hearing solutions can be life-changing for yourself and your family, so the steps toward accepting a change like hearing loss can be a joy as much as it is a challenge. Don’t be afraid to find answers and support from those around you – it might be the difference between struggling and really living.
To book your free hearing test, contact or visit us at:
Lifestyle Hearing Solutions
6425 E. Broadway
Tucson, Arizona 85710