A person is said to have hearing loss if their hearing abilities are less than those of someone with normal hearing, which is characterized by hearing thresholds of 20 dB or greater in both ears. This disorder, which can be mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound, can affect one or both ears.
With time and exposure to loud noise, the nerve cells or microscopic hairs in the cochlea that carry sound signals to the brain may degrade. When fragile nerve endings are destroyed, electrical impulses cannot be transmitted effectively, which causes hearing loss.
When should you visit an audiologist and what are the five indicators of hearing loss?
Ringing in the ears or tinnitus
It is estimated that one in five persons who have hearing loss also has tinnitus. This disorder, often known as ringing in the ears, happens when someone is exposed to extremely loud sounds (i.e gunshots, explosions).
Nearly 90% of people with tinnitus also experience hearing loss. The thing is, tinnitus frequently imitates the rhythm of your loss. If you have difficulty hearing high frequencies, your tinnitus could be perceived as a high-pitched ringing or buzzing.
If you encounter any strange hearing problems, seek medical treatment from an audiologist as tinnitus may be an early indicator of hearing loss or some underlying medical condition.
Muffled or distorted hearing
If anything as basic as congestion brought on by a common cold or an allergy is the cause of the muffled hearing, it may eventually go better on its own. However, you need to rule out more serious causes of muffled hearing, such as hearing loss, head injuries, or tumors.
Overproduction of ear wax is a typical contributor to hearing loss (cerumen). An obstruction in the ear canal can occasionally be caused by ear wax accumulation. The ear wax may harden and dry up over time, increasing the likelihood of impaction, which in turn could affect or impair your ability to hear.
Listening fatigue develops when your brain must concentrate to distinguish sounds from background noise before processing and transforming them into meaningful information. People who seem “tired of listening” are sometimes misunderstood to be obnoxious, disinterested, or insensitive.
When hearing loss is present, the brain has to perform harder than usual to compensate for the disability, which leads to stress and exhaustion.
Struggling to hear in mild-to-moderate background noise
If you have hearing loss, it could be more challenging to converse with others. If you have trouble hearing conversations in the presence of background noise, it’s possible that your ears have issues blocking out external sounds. Struggling to hear, especially in the presence of modest background noise, is frequently the first indicator of moderate hearing loss or auditory processing disorder (APD).
Less enthusiasm for social activities
Humans who have hearing loss are more likely to experience social isolation. People frequently opt to detach and isolate themselves rather than engage in social, professional, or business contexts where interaction is necessary when hearing becomes problematic. Hearing loss can cause psychological and social issues that affect one’s feelings and society if it is not remedied.
Many of life’s most cherished experiences, such as hearing a loved one’s voice or laughter, engaging in meaningful discussions with family and friends, admiring the sounds of nature, or watching your preferred TV shows or sporting events, can be challenging to enjoy and participate in if you have hearing loss.
Get your hearing tested
If you believe that you or a loved one is exhibiting early signs of hearing loss, make sure to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to get your hearing tested. RK Audiology offers comprehensive hearing testing in Austin, TX, and nearby communities.