Hearing loss doesn’t usually happen overnight. Most people’s hearing changes gradually. For this reason, it can be hard to know whether you need a hearing test, but there are some clear signs. Is it time for a hearing test? Probably, if you’ve noticed any of the following signs:
- You struggle to follow conversations in background noise. This is one of the very first signs of hearing loss! If you find that participating in a conversation in the presence of noise is difficult for you, it’s time for a hearing test.
- You think that people around you are mumbling. While some people do speak less distinctly, early hearing loss can often make one think that other people are just not speaking loudly or clearly enough. If you think it might be them, it might actually be you!
- You hear much better when people aren’t wearing face masks. Facemasks not only take away any visual information, like how someone’s lips are moving, but they have been found to reduce certain speech sounds by up to 12dB! That’s a lot for someone with hearing loss, even if it’s mild. We have noticed a big increase in people coming in for hearing tests who has less severe losses since we’ve all been wearing facemasks.
- You find it difficult to hear people, especially strangers, on the phone. The phone leaves us nowhere to hide- because we only have the auditory information, any change in hearing is going to be noticeable. Sometimes when speaking to someone you know well, your brain is able to fill in the gaps. However, it’s often very difficult to hear and understand someone that you don’t know or who has an unfamiliar accent, such as when calling the bank or your phone company. If this sounds familiar, it might be time for a hearing test.
- You need the TV turned up louder than the rest of your family. Is the TV volume level causing conflict between you and your partner or children? As one’s hearing changes we often rely on turning it louder to follow, but this can be frustrating or even uncomfortable for other people living in your home. If they are saying the TV is too loud, you should have your hearing tested.
- Your loved ones have complained that you aren’t hearing well. Often it’s those around us that notice our hearing changing before we do. If your kids are telling you that your hearing has changed, have a hearing test to investigate why.
- You no longer feel that your hearing aids help you enough. If you have already been diagnosed with hearing loss, or if you have hearing aids, but they don’t seem to be helping as much as they once did, you might need to have your hearing retested. Slight changes in hearing ability can mean that your hearing aids aren’t hitting the correct targets for your needs anymore, and they may need to be adjusted.
Even if you haven’t noticed any of these signs, adults should have their hearing tested every 10 years, and if they are over 50 years old, every 3 years. If you have risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of hearing loss, you should have a hearing test more frequently. For those with diagnosed hearing loss, a hearing test at least every 2 years is recommended in order to ensure that your loss is being managed appropriately.
If you need a hearing test, don’t wait! Early identification of hearing loss and other ear-related issues is crucial to allow for the best possible management.
For more information about hearing testing and hearing loss, or to book a hearing assessment, contact us, or comment below.