Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves? Are your grandchildren mumbling and slurring their words more than usual? You may be experiencing some hearing loss signs and symptoms.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in every three adults older than 60 has some form of hearing loss. Long-term noise, heredity, and illnesses such as ear infections all take a toll on your auditory system as you age.
If you some of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Benefit from better hearing with these tips.
1. Look for the signs of hearing loss.
Common signs and symptoms for hearing loss include needing to ask people to repeat themselves, trouble hearing in a crowd or on the telephone, and a sense that others are mumbling. As you age, you lose the ability to hear higher frequencies, which makes it harder to hear full conversations. People with higher voices, such as women and children, can be especially difficult to hear. While struggling to pick up conversations is a more obvious sign of hearing loss, the less obvious ones are sensitivity to loud noises and ringing in the ears.
2. Get tested accurately.
A doctor’s office test may seem like an appropriate place to get your hearing tested, but it actually may end up contaminating your results. Offices allow for too much extraneous noise to creep in, such as voices in the hall, humming equipment, or outside traffic noises. Instead, visit an audiologist and get tested in a soundproof booth. The audiologist will test your entire auditory system—eardrum, middle ear, and inner ear—before determining the best treatment for you and recommending other medical interventions if needed.
3. Invest in hearing aids.
Today’s hearing aids are actually tiny computers that can be programmed for your needs. Their basic goal is to amplify sound, especially in high frequencies, but their capacity continues to evolve with technology. When you’re in a crowded spot such as a restaurant, today’s hearing aids can now amplify the voice of the person closest to you. New hearing aids also allow you to switch from one “program” to another—such as changing the amplification between, say, a noisy street and a quiet library—with the wave of your hand or by tapping a device that looks like a watch. Bluetooth connectivity makes some models easier to integrate with cell phones, televisions, and other digital gadgets. Work with a doctor to determine which one is right for you.
4. Assisted listening and alerting devices
Many public buildings throughout the country are wired with electromagnetic coils that connect directly to hearing aids to amplify and clarify sounds. These coils are called looping systems and are installed in most places, such as theaters, museums, and places of worship. Alerting devices—usually flashing lights or vibrations—also can be connected to smoke detectors, alarm clocks, and doorbells. Household equipment such as these items emit high-frequency sounds that can missed by those with hearing loss. Alerting devices are especially important at night when you may take out your hearing aids.
The Life Care Services community near you offers residents audio support for those with hearing problems, such as captioned TVs and telephones and other technologies, that can help you stay connected and safe. Call Life Care Services to find out more.