The prevalence of hearing loss in the United States is fairly significant — 15% of people over the age of 18 report problems with hearing — and the prevalence skews toward the older population. Losing your hearing can greatly affect how you navigate your world, so recognizing the early signs of hearing loss and getting treatment is important.
While the signs of hearing loss may seem obvious — you can’t hear as well as you once did — the early signs can be more subtle. To help you identify hearing issues, Dr. Timothy Queen, Nancy Gibson, FNP-BC, Kristi Pham, MSN, FNP-BC, and the rest of our team at Advanced ENT & Allergy outline a few red flags here.
Risk factors for hearing loss
Before we get into the early signs of hearing loss, let’s take a look at some of the risk factors. As we mentioned, hearing loss is often part of the aging process — one-quarter of those aged 65 to 74 have some hearing loss and half of people 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
When it comes to age-related hearing loss, men outpace women two to one, and the problem tends to affect non-Hispanic White people more than other groups (non-Hispanic Black people have the lowest prevalence).
Early signs of hearing loss
Now, let’s take a look at some of the early signs of hearing loss, as this problem is progressive, and you may not even realize your hearing is affected as you adjust your behaviors.
Turning the volume up
One of the most common signs of early hearing loss is raising the volume on your TV, radio, or earbuds. You may not be aware you’re doing it, but if someone in your household complains of the TV being too loud, this is a good clue.
Trouble hearing in groups
If you’re out with friends or in any other group situations where there’s a lot of talking around you, and you find that you really have to focus in order to hear what someone is saying, this is a red flag.
Ringing in your ears
When you have a ringing in your ears (tinnitus), which affects 50 million people in the US, it may be your brain’s way of filling in voids in your hearing.
Losing high frequency sounds
One of the areas of hearing that tends to go first is high-pitched sounds, such as birds chirping or someone whistling, so be on the lookout for any deficits in this area.
Get your hearing checked
If any of the above signs sound familiar, it’s time to come see us for a hearing evaluation. Our audiology experts perform an extensive hearing test to determine whether you’re losing your hearing and to what extent.
Armed with this information, we take the next steps toward reestablishing your ability to hear clearly, which might include:
- Ear wax removal
- Hearing aids
- Cochlear implants
- Endoscopic ear surgery
The best way to determine whether you need hearing loss treatment is to contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to set up a consultation.