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Typical Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Difficulty understanding people when you're in a noisy place, when you can't see the speaker's face, or when you are more than a few feet from the sound source.
  • Frequently asking others to repeat, speak louder, or acting as if you understood when you actually have not heard the whole message.
  • Communication breakdowns may occur because you cannot catch all of what was said or misinterpret spoken information.
  • Using a louder voice in order to hear what you say. This is often noticed by family members or friends first, but eventually may cause you to strain your vocal cords.
  • Having to turn up the volume on the television, radio, or telephone and others complain that they are too loud for them.
  • Not participating in activities such as going to the movies, group gatherings or phone calls because of the extra effort needed to follow what is being said.

Feature Story

Health Center Today, May 11, 2010

Silence Isn’t Always Golden – How to Identify Signs of Hearing Loss

By Carolyn Pennington

Helping People Communicate - Better Hearing and Speech Month

More than 21 million infants, children, and adults in America suffer from some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Early detection can save valuable treatment time and enhance language development for babies and young children. Early testing can also help prevent a child’s hearing impairment from being mislabeled later as a learning disorder. For teenagers and young adults, identification of a hearing problem can improve academic performance and social interaction.

"For adults and the elderly, hearing impairments can go unsuspected until the sounds of daily life become faded or unrecognizable," says Dr. Denis Lafreniere, an ear, nose and throat specialist and division chief of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Health Center. "Rather than accepting loss of hearing as an inevitable part of aging, or shying away from social interaction to avoid embarrassment, you should get a proper medical evaluation from a doctor and a hearing evaluation from a doctor or a licensed audiologist."

Treatment for Hearing Loss

Lafreniere says the most common treatment for hearing loss is amplification with hearing aids. Today's digital hearing aids are smaller, provide more specific amplification to clarify speech, and contain technology to alleviate problems faced in difficult listening situations.

"Anyone who has a mild hearing loss or greater can benefit from a hearing aid," says Lafreniere. Benefits include the ability to localize sounds, distinguish one sound from another, understand speech in noisy environments, as well as shortening the time it takes to adjust to using hearing aids.

When individuals put off seeking help for hearing loss, communication and quality of life deteriorate. Over time, your brain slowly loses the ability to interpret certain frequencies of sounds that have been missed for so long. Once you’re fitted with a hearing aid, the auditory system is once again fully stimulated, and you can learn to identify and interpret the sounds that have been missing. However, the longer you wait to do something about hearing loss, the more difficult it is to recover all of your normal listening skills.

For more information about our Hearing Aid Services or to make an appointment, call 860-679-2804.