For many people, hearing loss is gradual. So gradual, in fact, that they might not realize it is happening.
There are a number of well-known signals that a person is not hearing well, the most obvious is that the person keeps saying “What?”, or “Huh?” Or not seeming to understand what is being communicated.
Less obvious, but perhaps more disturbing, are signs of agitation, sadness or withdrawal-like spending time watching television instead of visiting with friends and family. The person may appear to have developed a defensive attitude or a chip on their shoulder. They may feel people are out to get them or trying to make them look bad. These symptoms could be misinterpreted as signs of a relationship or personality problem. The issue might be affecting the closeness you feel with someone you love.
Before you give up or get annoyed with someone, consider another possibility, hearing loss. Look for other symptoms like:
- Missing phone calls or not answering the doorbell
- Ending phone calls quickly
- Having the TV or radio turned up too loud
- Having difficulty understanding small children or women with high voices
- Answering the wrong question or missing the trail of the conversation
- Sitting by themselves in social situations
- Unwillingness to meet new people
- Complaining they can’t hear in large venues like weddings
- Keep asking, “What did she say?”
- Responding inappropriately to questions or conversations
- Complaining about a buzzing or ringing noise
Also, consider family history and other personal factors.
- Did other relatives have hearing problems?
- Has the person started taking a new medication that could have affected their hearing?
- Does the person you love have medical issues like diabetes, heart problems or circulation issues?
- Did your loved one work in a loud environment?
- Does he or she have a loud hobby, like hunting or trap shooting?
- Did he or she love to go to concerts or listen to loud music, especially with headphones?
The next part can be tricky. Once you suspect hearing loss, you will need to bring it up gently and without confrontation. Making your loved one feel like you are on their side and you are there to help will make a huge difference in getting them to accept that they might have hearing loss. More importantly, it will help them to take the next step – finding a solution to address their hearing issues.
We suggest that the next step is for your loved one to see a hearing health professional in order to obtain a hearing evaluation to determine the type and degree of hearing loss. After visiting a hearing health professional, your loved one will have a better understanding of how much help is needed and the types of options that are available. As you can see elsewhere on our site, we offer a variety of solutions. We put control in the user’s hands by letting the user choose the solution that will work best for them – from simply increasing amplification in different environments to a hearing aid that addresses specific areas of hearing loss. For help choosing a solution, click here.