No one wants to face the possibility that they might be losing their ability to hear. From listening to your favorite music to engaging in conversations, hearing is crucial for all the things you love to do in life.
Environmental and Genetic Dangers: What Causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss has a wide variety of causes. You’ve likely been warned that listening to loud music can harm your hearing, which is correct. However, hearing loss can also occur for other reasons, including:
- Trauma to the ears or head.
- Autoimmune diseases or other illnesses.
- Side effects from chemotherapy or other medications.
- Old age.
- A variety of genetic conditions, such as Waardenburg syndrome.
A Quiet World: What are the Warning Signs That You May Be Experiencing Hearing Loss?
Before you panic and begin researching the best hearing aids, it’s wise to get a professional opinion. If you suspect that your ears aren’t what they used to be, you might want to watch for signs that it’s time to visit the doctor.
- You’re Struggling During Conversations
It would seem that the most obvious sign of needing to see a doctor about hearing loss would be struggling to hear. However, hearing loss is one of those things that creeps in slowly. In most cases, people don’t go from being able to hear perfectly to being totally deaf overnight. One of the first signs of a problem is having a difficult time understanding people in everyday conversations.
If you notice that you’re having to ask people to repeat themselves often, there might be a problem. Voices may sound muffled, or you might have a difficult time making sense of words when there are other sounds present, such as the noise of a busy restaurant or party. Sometimes, it’s difficult for anyone to hear because it really is loud, but if you notice that you seem to be the only person struggling, you could be dealing with the early stages of hearing loss.
- Other People Are Bothered by Your Volume Levels
Maybe your wife is constantly complaining that the television is too loud, but for you, it sounds perfectly normal. Maybe every time your kids ride in your car, they ask why you have the radio blasting. If there seems to be a major difference between your perception of a comfortable volume and the way others respond, then your hearing could be the issue.
- You’re Feeling Drained
For someone with hearing loss, everyday activities can be exhausting. Everything from engaging in conversations to listening to flight announcements at the airport becomes a chore. Since the problem can creep in so slowly, you might not have noticed. You might have simply found that everything seems to be harder these days. If this is the case, imagine how much your life could improve with the help of a quality hearing aid.
Visiting the Doctor for Hearing Loss: What Should You Expect?
If this is your first trip to the ear doctor, you might be wondering about the typical procedure. First, your ears will be checked visually to determine if swelling, inflammation, an infection or some other problem is causing you to be hard of hearing. Sometimes, ear wax can build up and block the ear, and a simple flush will revitalize your senses.
If your doctor determines that the physical structure of your ear canal is normal, then you’ll be given a hearing test. This usually involves listening to a variety of tones and letting your doctor know when you can hear them clearly and in which ear. You may be asked to repeat certain words or sentences. The doctor also might use a special test to determine the functionality of your eardrums.
Ear exams aren’t painful, so if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate to make an appointment. The quicker your doctor discovers the reason for your hearing loss, the sooner you can find a solution.