Identifying a
hearing loss
for a loved one

Coming to terms with hearing loss is not always easy. Instead of admitting that one’s hearing needs a little assistance, the issue is often denied, and many miss out on the help that modern medicine and technology make available. That’s where friends and relatives can make a big difference. If you feel that a loved one is beginning to suffer from hearing loss, your intervention could prompt them to seek help. And there are plenty of signs to look for when you suspect that hearing loss is an issue. Here are some of the most common symptoms we’ve come across when diagnosing and assisting our customers with hearing loss:

1. Conversations become more difficult and frustrating
Much of the time, hearing loss is actually detected by people speaking to the person with a hearing loss. They can tell when conversations are becoming slower and more cumbersome, and when they must repeat their words to get their message across. Often, this will occur in noisier, more complex environments like cars or bars. If you sense this is happening, don’t just put it to one side. It could be an important sign that your assistance is required.

2. Telephone issues start to arise
The same applies to talking on the phone. You might see your loved one express frustration about not hearing people properly over the phone, or they might stop calling so frequently and resort to SMS or emails instead. Either way, look out for signs that they are finding it harder to use the phone. It’s often the first-place hearing loss expresses itself.

3. You find the TV or radio volume is getting louder
This is a common complaint from the relatives of hearing loss sufferers. As their hearing deteriorates, people tend to increase the volume of TVs or sound systems beyond their normal level. They won’t necessarily realize this is happening (for them it sounds “normal”). But you will. If you feel that the volume is rising on a regular basis, it’s a surefire signal that hearing loss is developing.

4. Information gets lost in translation
Along with conversations becoming more frustrating on a practical level, hearing loss sufferers can also start to show difficulties with comprehension (understanding the concepts or information you are telling them). So, if your loved one comes back from the store with the wrong detergent, or they use the wrong letter template at work, this could be down to simply misunderstanding your words. When these misunderstandings accumulate, it’s often good evidence of hearing loss, in our experience.

5. Tiredness builds up at the end of the day
When you start to lose your hearing, life often becomes more tiring. When conversations are harder to follow, your brain must work harder to keep up, and stress can increase as well due to frustration. The result is often increased fatigue or a headache, which come the end of the day. So, if your friend or loved one is extra tired in the evening, hearing loss could be the culprit.

6. High-pitched voices start to become hard to hear
One of the best early warning signs for a hearing loss is when someone begins to struggle to hear higher-pitched voices, such as children and some women. Hearing loss regularly progresses from the extremes of the frequency spectrum, so voices at a higher pitch are often the first to become fuzzy and hard to hear. So be alert for problems with particular types of voice, not just conversation in general.

7. Everyone else mysteriously starts to mumble
This is something that happens all the time. As hearing loss develops, people often instinctively blame their environment or other people, instead of admitting their problem. This regularly takes the form of blaming others for “mumbling” and not speaking clearly. If the person you know starts to accuse multiple people of mumbling, it’s probably not a conspiracy. It’s most likely to be a sign of hearing loss.

8. Locating sounds becomes problematic
Another aspect of hearing loss which we regularly encounter is “localization” – or the ability to know where sounds are coming from. This could take the form of problems with cinema stereo systems, or not hearing automobiles approaching from a certain direction. And it can be dangerous. If your loved one starts to struggle with localizing noises, it’s an indication that assistance is needed.

9. Alarms start to lose their power
For normal people, alarms are supposed to jolt them and bring them to attention. But for many with a hearing loss, high-pitched alarms start to become less audible. So, they might miss the microwave alarm, miss their phone ringtone, or fail to take action when emergency vehicles approach. These types of responses are great indicators that a hearing aid is required.

How to interpret these hearing loss symptoms

If your loved one shows any of these symptoms, it’s not always a sign that they need a hearing aid. But when a number of them combine, it usually is. In that case, the sensible thing to do is to discuss the issue with them, before booking a consultation to consider solutions. We are ready to assist however we can, suggesting appropriate hearing aids and connecting you with audiologists across the USA. That way, your friend, partner, or parent can find the help they need.

Do you have a loved one who shows
similar behaviour in certain situations?