Hearing loss is a problem for many individuals, especially in their later years. But anyone can experience hearing loss and it has a variety of causes. It could be a result of aging, complications from an illness or damage from regular exposure to loud noises. Being hard of hearing is very common; for example, in the UK about 1 in 6 people is deaf or hard of hearing. It can be difficult to determine if you're starting to lose your hearing, but once you determine that you are, there are options you can use to improve your life. If you think you could be losing your hearing, try following these steps to work out what you need to do next.
Signs of Hearing Loss
It can be difficult to tell if your hearing is declining because it often happens gradually, and it might take you a while to notice any change. You might first struggle to pick up background noises, then begin to have difficulty hearing what someone is saying when there are other noises around you. If you're not sure whether you're losing some of your hearing, you can think about what some everyday noises sound like to you. Perhaps people often seem like they're mumbling, even when everyone else can hear them clearly. You might struggle to keep up with a conversation when there's a lot of background noise, or perhaps you need to turn up the volume on the TV or radio a lot.
The best way to tell if you have a hearing problem is to get your hearing tested. This is the best way to find out if there's an issue if you're worried about your hearing. There are lots of ways you can test your hearing, although some might be more accurate than others. Some charities and health professionals offer tests over the phone or online. You can also visit a hearing aid retailer (sometimes found in the same place as opticians), who will often provide short tests too. These short hearing tests are a good first indication of a problem, and you can then visit a doctor for a longer test to help you determine the issue.
Image Credit: Simon James
Methods to Improve Your Hearing
How you will improve your hearing will depend on what the problem is. Some conditions are easy to address; for example, built-up ear wax can be treated with drops or by removing it with a syringe. If you have an ear infection, a course of antibiotics may be the correct treatment. But if you have a more permanent hearing loss, you may be able to wear a hearing aid to help correct it. Hearing aids, like any other product, are made by many different providers, including William Demant, Siemens, and ReSound. If a hearing aid is suitable for you, you need to find the right one, that's both comfortable and improves your hearing in a satisfactory way. There are different types to consider, as well as a range of features that could help you to hear better.
It's disappointing when you find out that you're losing your hearing, but you can address the problem. With the right treatment, you can improve your quality of life.