We live in a loud world. Take a listen around. You’re likely in the midst of multiple simultaneous noises, many of which (if you actually think about it) sound harsh and annoying. However, we’re pretty good at consciously ignoring background noise, even though the sounds are affecting our hearing apparatus. After years of traffic, screaming, loud music and other assorted sounds, our hearing invariably starts to suffer.
I’ll discuss the causes, mechanisms and prevention of hearing loss another day, but for now, I want to point you toward getting your hearing checked before you find yourself needing a hearing aid. Being cognizant of where your hearing stands may prompt you to make some early alterations that can save your hearing over the longer term.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include the following:
- Previously normal sounds, including speech, become muffled.
- The ability to distinguish sounds in the midst of background noise becomes harder.
- You need others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
- You need to turn up the volume of the television, radio and other devices to which you’re listening.
- You avoid socializing and find yourself withdrawing from conversations.
Our hearing anatomy is actually quite fascinating and complex, and there’s a lot that could be going on. It’s time to get an evaluation if you’re suffering from the above, or your daily activities are being interfered with by hearing difficulties. While you’re at it, check out the noise thermometer, and see how easy it is for a few common sounds to cause some real damage.