Often times, when you try to broach the subject of hearing loss with a loved one for the first time, they’ll tell you that their hearing is fine!
This is actually very common. Most of us don’t know that hearing loss sort of sneaks up on you. A person with a hearing problem is often the last to notice it because the change comes on gradually and subtly. It makes sense that if you can’t hear a sound, to you it doesn’t exist!
There are a few ways to tell if you’re having difficulties.
A hearing problem can present as a loss of clarity rather than volume. Your first clue might be mixing up consonants; you’ll hear ‘tear’ instead of ‘beer’
This very thing led to a security bungle when I was presenting at Parliament House a while back.
Security screened my bag and they pulled out a gadget that I use for presentations. They asked what it was, and I told them.
The security guard looked at me strangely and telephoned the police to ask if I should be allowed in the building with this ‘dangerous device’.
The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by armed police demanding to know why I carried the item. I explained that it made slides go forwards and had a laser pointer built in. “Oh, a LASER” said the policeman, I thought he said TASER”
It’s funny now, but those sort of mix-ups are very frustrating when you have hearing loss and deal with them daily.
What other signs of hearing loss should you look out for?
Things like finding it hard to hear a conversation in a crowded room or restaurant; feeling that people are always mumbling; your loved ones complaining about the volume you set the TV or radio; finding it easier to understand men’s voices than women’s; hearing ringing in your ears…
Suppose you’re experiencing a few of these symptoms. What next?
- Blamey Saunders hears has a free hearing test that you can take online that will tell you the extent of your hearing loss. If your report shows you could benefit from hearing aids, you can contact us to find out about our hearing solutions.
- Or, go to your GP who can rule out earwax blockage or any health conditions that can cause hearing loss.
But be aware that some doctors think hearing loss is just a normal part of ageing, which it is to a degree, and might incorrectly tell you to wait until things get worse before you get treatment.
There’s a danger in waiting too long, and many Australians wait around 7 years before getting hearing aids.
Lots of people put them off – usually because of perceived stigma, costs and difficulty accessing services. But untreated hearing loss impacts every aspect of your life – your relationships, your employment, your physical and mental health.
Remember, the longer you wait to treat your hearing loss the more work you have to put in to adjust to the sound hearing aids provide when you decide to get them.
Aside from getting hearing aids, there are things you can do to reduce further damage.
It’s never too late to start looking after your hearing.
- You can reduce your length of exposure to loud noise
- Use hearing protection when you know you’re going to be around loud sound – you can get special custom musician’s earplugs for concerts
- You can reduce the volume that comes through your headphones, or the radio or TV
- You should treat any ear infections promptly because they can damage hearing
- And you should seek help for hearing loss as early as possible!