In the spirit of Lubbock’s Hearing Health Awareness Month this January, I’ve created this blog to share with you some of the first signs of hearing loss and what you should do if you notice them in either yourself or a loved one.

Hearing loss occurs in people of all ages. In the United States, newborns who are born with hearing loss are often diagnosed early due to early newborn hearing screening. Adult-onset hearing loss usually occurs gradually, which makes it more challenging to recognize as a problem. The average person with hearing loss waits between 7 and 9 years before seeking help for their condition. The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) specifies that roughly 28.8 million Americans can benefit from the use of hearing aids. Knowing the signs of hearing loss can help you to identify and treat hearing loss earlier and minimize problems.

“Can You Repeat That?”

Misunderstanding spoken words and asking people to repeat themselves is often a first sign of hearing loss. If you find yourself having to ask for conversations to be repeated or saying things like “what did you say?” or “could you repeat that?” you may be experiencing hearing loss. Misunderstanding conversations can be frustrating and embarrassing for the person suffering from hearing loss. Maybe you think the person didn’t speak clearly enough or you weren’t paying close enough attention, but if you start to notice that you’re having trouble understanding conversations frequently, it’s time to get your hearing checked.

Physical Signs

Straining to hear and understand conversations can lead to headaches and fatigue.

Loss of High-Frequency Sounds

Adult-onset hearing loss involves high-frequency hearing loss, which means high frequency sounds become harder to hear. High-frequency hearing loss is common. Conversations may become more challenging due to difficulty hearing high frequencies. Music that you once found enjoyable may seem like it isn’t quite the same; you may notice some notes missing.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a mysterious ringing or buzzing sound in the ears with no apparent cause. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss as the NIDCD states that about 10 percent of adults in the US experienced an episode of tinnitus in the past year.

Tone of Voice

If you typically have the TV and phone volumes turned up high, you may also have another sound-related sign of hearing loss- a loud voice. Do other people frequently tell you that you are too loud or ask you to quieten down? Speaking loudly may be a signal that you don’t hear well.

Difficulty with Phone Conversations

Hearing loss can be particularly noticeable during phone conversations. If you have the volume set to maximum and you are still straining to hear, it’s time to get your hearing checked. You may notice that you often ask the other person to repeat statements or discover that you misunderstand what is said.

Don’t be embarrassed by hearing loss. If you suspect that you may not be hearing as well as you should, have a hearing assessment to determine if you would benefit from treatment. You don’t have to miss out on conversations or crank the volume up; there are many ways to improve your ability to hear. January is Lubbock’s Hearing Health Awareness Month – Cornerstone Audiology is providing complimentary hearing assessments during January. Don’t wait any longer, if you suspect that hearing loss may be affecting your life, contact us to schedule an appointment today.

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Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Cornerstone Audiology

Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Cornerstone Audiology

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.