More than 48 million people throughout the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. But only about 20 percent are seeking treatment. This is partly because the early signs of hearing loss can be easily ignored of chalked up to old age. Like most medical conditions, the sooner you identify and treat your hearing loss, the better your outcomes.
Below are some signs of hearing loss you shouldn’t be ignoring.
One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is hearing a faint ringing, buzzing or clicking in the ear, especially when your environment is quiet. The presence of tinnitus means you have damaged the tiny hair cells within the inner ear. In fact, up to 90 percent of those with tinnitus also experience hearing loss.
Your inner ear is responsible for both balance and hearing. If there is damage to that part of your ear, it will affect both systems.
In addition, when you are experiencing hearing loss, your brain is missing out on key bits of information. In order to compensate, your brain has to spend more effort trying to hear, taking its focus off other things like balance.
As with your balance, when your brain is not getting enough information through sound, it will have to divert its resources. Your brain will need to spend more energy trying to hear at the expense of your memory and your ability to think.
Hearing loss has been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and social isolation. Both of which can impede your ability to remember new information.
Painful Loud Noises
While loud noises are bothersome to everyone, they should never physically hurt. But for those with hearing loss, their ears are unable to protect them from dangerous noises. When the ear cannot dampen loud sounds, it can cause pain in the ear. Experts describe the sensation as a sharp shooting pain or a dull ache.
Often Saying “Huh”
Untreated hearing loss makes it harder for you to distinguish speech from background noise. If you find yourself saying “huh?” or asking people to repeat themselves, especially when you are out at a bar or restaurant, this is a good sign you are in the early stages of hearing loss.
If you think you may have hearing loss, now is the time to contact an audiologist. The experts at Houston Hearing Center will conduct a series of hearing tests to determine your exact type and degree of hearing loss before working with you to put together a treatment plan. Call today to get started.