You might not believe it, but I have treated many patients in my audiology practice over the years, and have never met a person who looked forward to learning that they have a hearing loss. Most experience a level of shock because they simply did not know. Ignoring hearing loss can cause extensive damage and severely inhibit your ability to hear, but it can also produce additional negative effects on your overall health. Seeing your audiologist for a hearing test early and often provides the best protection against all of these damages. To raise your awareness and give you a little nudge to come in for a hearing test, I have put together a list of early warning signs that you may need a hearing test.

You Have Difficulty Hearing

It seems redundant, but it is necessary to take a moment to think about whether you are hearing what others are saying, especially when you talk on the phone. If you experience an increase in misunderstandings and/or frequently ask others to repeat what they’ve said, you are not hearing well. You might find yourself turning up the volume on the television, radio, and/or other electronic devices on a frequent basis – another indicator that you do not hear as well as you did. Consider your own voice. If it sounds muffled to you, then you might speak louder, assuming that others are struggling to hear you as well.

Your Ears Feel Clogged or “Heavy”

Changes in how your ears feel can also indicate a hearing loss. When your ears feel clogged and heavy, it could be inflammation, a growth in your ear canal, a buildup of earwax, or any number of other causes. Visiting an audiologist often provides diagnosis and simple treatment capable of restoring your hearing.

You Avoid Social Situations

Experiencing frustration and/or embarrassment during social gatherings or skipping them altogether are common warning signs of hearing loss. Most social situations, such as in restaurants, parties, meetings, and other functions, include high levels of background noise, making it difficult for someone with a hearing loss to distinguish the voice of the person they are speaking to from other sounds. Consequently, they become frustrated or embarrassed and begin to avoid such situations.

You Feel Irritable and Tired

Hearing loss can be exhausting. Speech recognition, speech recognition with background noise, and speech vigilance efforts for those with an unaided hearing loss contribute significantly to irritability and fatigue during sustained audio communication activities, according to a 2014 Vanderbilt University study. In addition to struggling with these critical elements of communication, many individuals with a hearing loss expend a lot of energy in an attempt to hide their hearing difficulty. The end result of fatigue is a breakdown in cognitive response, headaches from straining, and anxiety and depression disorders.

How Does a Hearing Test Help?

With a hearing evaluation, I can identify your level of hearing loss, its cause or causes, and provide a plan for intervention and treatment. Although hearing aids are a common option used in treatment, they are not always the right solution for every unique case of hearing loss. Rather than assume that someone has a hearing loss and needs to wear a hearing aid, I approach each patient’s hearing healthcare with a fresh perspective during a hearing evaluation to produce an accurate assessment and prescribe the best course of treatment.

If you are experiencing any or several of these early warning signs of hearing loss, do not hesitate to come in for a hearing test. My team at Duncan Hearing Healthcare and I have the equipment, expertise, and experience to provide our Fall River, MA patients with an accurate assessment of their hearing and a range of treatment options to help restore your normal lifestyle.

Contact us to learn more about the early warning signs associated with hearing loss or set up an appointment to have your hearing tested at the Fall River, Hyannis, or Dartmouth, MA Duncan Hearing Healthcare clinic nearest to you.

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Nancy Duncan, Au.D.

Nancy Duncan, Au.D.

Dr. Duncan’s Southcoast roots run deep, establishing a special connection to the community where she practices. A homegrown product, she graduated from Somerset High, just across the Taunton from Fall River, and received her B.S. in communication disorders and psychology from Worcester State College. Her master of science in audiology was awarded at the University of Arkansas in 1997, after which she worked for several private audiology practices in Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.