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If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, you may not know it. You may have been noticing other things, however, that could in fact be the signs of hearing loss. There are several signs of hearing loss and difficulty communicating is one of them. Sometimes hearing loss occurs as the result of sudden exposure to extremely loud sounds, such as the sounds of an explosion or gunfire. It can also occur from long-term exposure to sustained noise, as often happens for people who work in places like factories where there the loud sounds of large machinery and equipment can be droning. In these situations where there is prolonged exposure to noise levels that produce hearing loss, it can actually be quite difficult to track the fact that hearing loss has occurred.
One way that you can pay attention to your hearing health is to pay attention to changes in communication style, and paying special attention to the times and places where communication feels especially difficult.
Difficulties with Conversation and Communication
One way you can track the ways that you may be experiencing hearing loss is to pay attention to how you hear when you are in one-on-one communication settings, and to pay attention to how you hear when you are in group communication settings or in places where there are many different people and noises (as happens in restaurants and at events). Hearing loss often means that you can only hear certain sounds, or that you hear some sounds more or better than others. If you are experiencing hearing loss you may not be able to distinguish certain sounds from others, such that it may be difficult for you to determine all of the levels of background noise that may occur in a restaurant. This can make it very difficult to communicate in places where there are lots of people, and in places where there are other sounds like music and the ambient noise of, say, silverware clinking at a restaurant.
Hearing loss can also impact your communication in more direct settings, where you are engaging with people in more one-on-one levels. If you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves frequently, you surely may be experiencing hearing loss. Your hearing loss could be more present in one ear over another, such that you may find yourself asking people to communicate with you from one side of your body.
Tracking your hearing loss can often be a bit more complicated than this, however. Hearing loss can manifest as difficulty distinguishing between and across different sounds, and difficult hearing certain kinds of tones. In this way, your hearing loss may mean that, while you can technically hear something that the person in front of you is saying directly to you, you might not actually be able to distinguish what exact words they are saying.
If you are experiencing untreated hearing loss you may often feel like you are lost in conversation, or like you cannot keep up with what is happening around you. You may also feel like you do not want to contribute to conversation at all—not only because you are unsure of what is being said, but because you are unsure of the tone that people are using or you may feel unsure of how loudly or softly people are talking, making you anxious about responding inappropriately.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss
It is important to address untreated hearing loss because it can have great effects on your physical and mental health. There are documented links between untreated hearing and increased risks of physical problems, namely higher risks of falls and accidents, which can be especially dangerous for people who are older.
There are also links between untreated hearing loss mental health issues including depression, but also anxiety. When we cannot hear the complexity of our surroundings, it can lead to acutely disconnected from the places we live in, work at, and frequent every day. When this happens, we can feel increasingly disconnected from friends, loved ones, and coworkers. After a while, you may want to recede from public life altogether!
This can have devastating effects on your well-being but also the health of your relationships. This is all to say that tracking your communication practices is an important part of paying attention to your hearing health and an important part of feeling connected to the people and places you love. To schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing evaluation, contact us at Crescent City Hearing Center today.