How do I know if I’m suffering with hearing loss?

Steven Hale Hearing

This may seem like a rhetorical question, or even foolish to some, who anticipate that the answer will simply be “…because you’re deaf…”.  However, in our experience, there is much more to unearthing the symptoms of hearing loss than simply ‘being deaf’.

In most ears, sound waves are transmitted through the middle ear bones to the inner ear causing vibration in the hair cells which, via nerve cells, translate into electrical pulses which are sent to the brain and become “heard” by the brain. Hearing loss, however, has a variety of guises.


'Classic' signs and symptoms of hearing loss

It’s true that some signs and symptoms of hearing loss are clear and obvious, such as the inability to quickly and accurately capture what others are saying to you, people sounding muffled as you listen, or the need to surreptitiously increase the volume on your TV or radio.

We may even find that ‘background noise’ can distract us, or perhaps cause some confusion with regards to being able to identify who is speaking, and what they are saying, with ‘ringing in the ears’ also being a clear impairment. In general, we know these can all point to a decrease in the ability to hear accurately.

However, the most common sign that Steven Hale hears on a daily basis is not one that you (as the future patient) notice, but it’s the fact that your nearest and dearest notice your impairment long before you do!

Remember, not only do we hear with our ears, but also with our eyes and our brains. Your first ever hearing aid is your eyes – yes, your eyes.

When you fail to hear something, your brain enlists the help of your eyes through the art of lipreading.  Then, if you still don’t hear or ‘see’ the message, your brain gets involved and guesses at filling in the blanks. This is good news if all goes well, but when it’s inaccurate time and again, those around you know something is wrong, so if they give you ‘feedback’, listen to it, it’s time to take action!


Hidden signs and symptoms of hearing loss

It may surprise you to learn that a fairly common – though much less recognised - symptom of hearing loss is the inability to hear letters of the alphabet that are not vowels.

Also, there is a condition called “loudness discomfort” which means that some people have extremely sensitive ears which makes regular noise levels unbearable to them, and this is also a form of hearing impairment. Further, anyone who has been exposed to unexpected loud sounds may experience “acoustic shock” or “acoustic trauma” and their accompanying symptoms of headache, tinnitus, ear pain, nausea, jaw and neck pain, fluttering noise in their ears, poor balance, anxiety and fatigue.

These will all impact on our quality of life, and, left untreated, could become permanent.


The impact of untreated hearing loss

In your family or circle of friends, you may have heard someone say “Oh, don’t worry, they’ve got selective deafness!”, and we may giggle at the thought.

However, there is strong evidence to indicate that the Neurological impact of hearing loss can be enormously damaging to the sufferer – way beyond the ability to be included in conversations and social events.

Initially there may be a period of disbelief and denial, maybe even joining in with the jokes about selective hearing, or being embarrassed, but then possibly moving into a loss of confidence and self-esteem and the fear of being ‘disabled’, which may then induce some self-isolation and withdrawal.

In turn this may result in the person avoiding some social or professional settings, or their confidence in driving, travelling, holidaying or walking - all of which could be contributory to developing or increasing Alzheimer’s symptoms and disease.


Simple steps to simple solutions

All too often we hear our clients say “…the hardest part was making the first phone call…”, followed swiftly by “…I wish I’d done it sooner…” So, all you need to do is make that first appointment, and then you’ll be taken through all of the steps from initial assessment to aftercare.  If you click on this link our short video will show you the process.


In summary

Hearing loss may be the result of genetics, age degeneration, an injury or even illness and infection. Whatever the cause, it will not be recoverable, or fixable, which is why it’s so important that you recognise it, have it professionally assessed, and then choose how to best maximise your ability to hear.  It’s one of very few hidden ‘disabilities’, so why not indulge in a fantastic hidden solution?

Societally we are all much more health conscious, so much so that we are now told “70 is the new 50.” We exercise regularly to work our hearts and lungs and limbs and joints and hinges, and to feel the sun on our bones. We eat with more awareness of what is good for us, or not so good for us, and we make those choices. We have our eyesight tested and aided, we regularly invite our dentists to check our teeth and our doctors sometimes to check our height, weight and blood pressure. Why? Because we want to live our best life.  Reliable, enhanced hearing forms a huge part of your quality of life. Keeping you safe, active and social is our commitment to you.

If you have hearing loss in Sutton Coldfield, please do not hesitate to contact us.