Head & Neck

Signs You May Need a Hearing Aid

written by Becki Andrus
Signs You Need Hearing Aids

Signs You May Need a Hearing Aid

In most cases, hearing loss happens gradually, so you may not notice the initial signs that your hearing is diminishing. An estimated 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss, making it a common problem that affects approximately 5% of the population. Paying attention to the signs of hearing loss is important so that early treatment can be accessed when possible.

Hearing Loss vs. Deafness

Hearing loss doesn’t mean that you are unable to hear anything. This problem can range from mild to severe and affect one or both ears. When the hearing loss is profound, and a person has little or no hearing, it is referred to as “deafness.”

The various stages of hearing loss can often be treated with sound amplification, using hearing aids or other assistive devices. An experienced ENT can assist with diagnosis and suggested treatments, helping to optimize the available hearing levels.

11 Signs You Need a Hearing Aid

If you notice signs of hearing loss for yourself or a loved one, then don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation to learn more about treatment options. These are some of the most common indications that hearing loss is occurring and a hearing aid might be needed:

  1. Complaining that people are speaking too softly
  2. Often asking someone to repeat their statement
  3. You often say “what” in a conversation
  4. Difficulty hearing conversations in a noisy environment
  5. Prefer spending time alone rather than in social settings
  6. Difficulty holding a phone conversation
  7. Unable to understand the dialogue at live events or during movies
  8. Other people complain that your TV is too loud
  9. When you can’t see other people’s faces, you find it challenging to understand what they are saying
  10. Straining to hear conversations in group settings
  11. Pretending to understand what someone said by offering vague expressions or taking cues from other people’s reactions

Sometimes, a person has a nearly normal hearing for low- and mid-pitched sounds (commonly vowels), but they find it challenging to understand high-pitched sounds (consonants). If you are experiencing partial hearing loss, then it is possible that you can hear other people talking, but you find it difficult to understand what they are saying.

Causes of Hearing Loss

The most common cause of hearing loss is age. Hearing tends to decline as people get older. It is also common for hearing loss to be affected by loud noise exposure, such as loud music or industrial machinery. The loudness and frequency of the noises will affect the progression of hearing loss.

Other causes of hearing loss could happen due to a tumor, earwax buildup, abnormal bone growth, or infection. Sometimes, treatments can be used to address the underlying cause, and then hearing will improve. For example, if the hearing loss is happening due to a buildup of earwax, then cleaning the ears could restore hearing.

Should You Talk to an ENT Specialist about Hearing Aids?

Even if you only experience a few of the signs in the list above, you might benefit from hearing aids or other treatments. The best solution is to talk to an experienced ENT to learn about your options.

Too often, people are unaware that they are using strategies to cope with hearing loss. For example, you might use behavioral strategies such as only talking to people face-to-face or standing closer to others when they talk. While these tactics can be helpful for the immediate needs, they don’t address the underlying issues causing the hearing loss. You shouldn’t just be “getting by.” An ear, nose, and throat doctor can identify the cause and severity of hearing loss.

Keep in mind that hearing aids aren’t a definite way to bring your hearing back to normal. These devices work by amplifying specific pitches in the range you’ve experienced hearing loss. Amplifying the voices around you means that other environmental sounds are usually intensified as well, such as traffic noise, nearby conversations, birds singing, etc.

Modern Hearing Aid Technology

Some patients are hesitant to consider hearing aids because they think of the obvious, cumbersome technology used by the older generations. Technology has transformed the hearing aid industry and made it affordable to access hearing aids that are small and functional.

The hearing aids used today are quite small and barely visible. Depending on the style of hearing aid, you might wear it inside the ear canal or over the ear. Some of these high-tech devices can even be connected to your smartphone for programming and convenience.

If you think that you might need hearing aids, then it might be time to talk to an ENT in the Dallas or Denton area. At Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat, we offer two convenient offices in Frisco and Plano, TX. Call for a consultation to determine the extent of your hearing loss and possible treatments to improve your lifestyle: (972) 596-4005

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