DO I NEED A HEARING TEST?
Think about it. If you have a problem with your eyesight, we all tend to act pretty quickly and go and get our eyes tested. It’s affecting everything you do because you can’t see clearly. You notice any problems pretty much immediately.
As our hearing gradually deteriorates, often over many years, it’s not always noticed right away. I qualified as a registered Hearing Aid Dispenser in the UK in 1994, and noticed very early on in my career that your family and friends are more likely to notice your hearing problems ages before you do.
Here are several pointers for you to indicate whether it’s time to check your hearing:
Are you always saying “Pardon” or asking people to repeat things?
This is the clearest indicator that you may have a hearing loss. Are you struggling to hear people if they’re actually looking at you or facing you? You may have convinced yourself that people are mumbling or muttering and not speaking clearly?
The most common type of hearing loss is Presbyacusis. Basically, as we get all get older, it’s more common to lose the high frequency sounds of things around us. Are you noticing that you struggle to hear children or female voices more than struggling with men’s voices?
People tell me the TV’s loud but I don’t think it is!
Even though they have the technology to improve the sound quality, it’s often very difficult to follow TV shows or movies. Quite often you can hear them talking but incidental and annoying background music drowns out the voices. However, if you’re often turning up the volume to a point where those around you complain about how loud it is, the issue may not be with your TV or the quality of the soundtrack itself.
If you have always liked listening to pretty loud music, or regularly go to concerts or the cinema (which can be ridiculously loud), then you should get your hearing checked.
Do you get buzzing or ringing sounds in your ears?
Tinnitus occurs when you hear sounds in your ears when no external source is present. Most people experience this – some more than others – sometimes it’s very distressing indeed. It often simply fades away and can be quite a long time before you hear it again.
However, if the ringing doesn’t fade away, it’s best to check your hearing. Whilst tinnitus isn’t always a symptom of hearing loss, it is a common first sign.
I shouldn’t bother going out into groups – I can’t tell what they say!
The biggest problem for people with hearing loss is trying to hear what people are saying in pubs, restaurants or when out shopping. Struggling and straining to understand people in these situations can leave you feeling shattered. If a typical day of talking with family, friends and colleagues leaves you mentally and physically tired, then you should get your hearing tested.
Family tell me I don’t hear the doorbell, phone or the microwave ping!
Do you often have missed calls or people saying they’ve been knocking outside your door for a long time? This is a typical issue for people with a hearing loss, especially if we’ve already established that you already have your TV or radio turned up louder than everyone else likes it.
Get your hearing tested as soon as you can. Whilst it can be tough to admit your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, it’s best to take act early. With the right support and technology, which Hear4U can offer you, your hearing loss doesn’t need to keep you from enjoying your life and your family.
Roger F Stokes, RHAD
HCPC Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser, Hear4U.