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Early Signs of Hearing Loss

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders, about 15% of American adults are affected by hearing loss.

I had some difficulty in finding larger research studies that were conducted in South Africa, but according to current research it is estimated that the percentage of people with hearing loss in South Africa stands about 21%.

Hearing loss is greatly associated with anxiety, depression, dementia and balance difficulties, if you suspect hearing loss it is of utmost importance that treatment should be provided as soon as possible.

Here are some signs of hearing loss:

1. You can hear, but understanding is difficult.

Patient with hearing loss often say that they can hear…. but understanding or making out what exactly is said is difficult. The most likely cause for this is because high frequency sounds (which are the frequencies most commonly affected or damaged in adults), such as “s”, “f”, “sh”, “t”, “k” are troublesome to hear and could make it difficult to determine if someone is talking about a “van” or a “fan” for example.

2. It is difficult to hear in the presence of background noise.

Individuals with hearing loss often find it difficult to hear in noisy environments, this is because background noise overpowers the voice of the speaker, making it even more difficult to hear what is said.

3. Talking to someone on the phone is often challenging.

Often times, a person with hearing loss relies greatly in visual cues (such as lipreading), to hear what is said. Obviously, these cues are missing when speaking to another person over the phone.

4. Socializing is exhausting

People with hearing loss often suffer from a phenomenon called “listening fatigue”; this is caused by the exhaustion you experience when straining to listen and respond appropriately to what is said. If you find that you are especially tired after social events, it could be an early sign of hearing loss.

If any of these signs rings true to you, it is recommended that you consult with an audiologist as soon as you can. The audiologist will conduct all necessary tests and be able to advise and counsel you as to the best possible treatment options 😊

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