Seven signs you may be experiencing hearing loss

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

Have you ever had a family member or coworker suggest you may be experiencing a problem hearing? Sure, sometimes your friends might joke about a missed conversation – especially if you weren’t paying attention. But if the comments are happening more frequently, and not in a jovial manner, your friends and family may be trying to tell you something is wrong.

Hearing is a sensitive topic for many, but almost 50 millions of Americans are affected by hearing loss caused by noise exposure, medications, age and injury. Why not take the time to pay attention to signs that you may not be hearing as well as you should?

In addition to having family members and friends making comments about you missing out on conversations, you may also have noticed the following indicators that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a hearing health care professional:

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* Telephone conversations – Do you have trouble hearing other people while using your home phone or cellphone? Or do you keep trying to crank up on the volume button in hopes of hearing better?

* Female and young voices – Women and children tend to have higher tones to their voices, which can be more difficult for people who have lost some hearing to interpret. Do you find yourself asking women and children to speak up?

* Multiple talkers – When you’re involved in a conversation with more than one person, is it a struggle to follow the conversation? Do you have to strain to understand the conversation when you are in a restaurant with lots of ambient noise?

* Incorrect answers – When you respond to people, do they appear annoyed or confused because you misunderstood what they said, or do you respond inappropriately?

* Watching TV – If someone walks into the room while you’re watching television or listening to the radio, do they turn down the sound, or ask you to turn it down?

* Mumbling speakers – Does it sound like everyone is not enunciating or speaking clearly? And do you find yourself asking them to constantly repeat themselves?

* Ringing in your ears – More than 25 million Americans experience tinnitus, which is often a ringing or buzzing in the ears.

If you find yourself responding positively to one or more of these questions, you may be suffering from hearing loss. Visit Hearing Health Foundation at to learn about hearing loss, how to recognize hearing loss and what you can do if you answered “yes” to the questions. You can also share your own hearing loss story, and read about others who are successfully living healthy and active lives with hearing loss or view others’ personal stories.

If your family and friends regularly ask you to get your hearing checked, follow their advice and make an appointment today with a hearing health care professional. It can lead you to a better life of hearing, participating in conversations and enjoying sounds that might have gone unnoticed before.