What to do if you think your hearing is deteriorating – and how to spot the signs

What to do if you think your hearing is deteriorating

Specsavers Audiologists chief audiologist Gordon Harrison offers his advice on identifying the symptoms and managing hearing loss

How to manage hearing loss

Hearing is one of our most important senses.  It helps us to communicate, listen to our favourite music and keeps us safe by identifying warning sounds. People, on average, take 10 years to seek help for hearing loss – so how can you spot the signs and what can you do to manage it?

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Because age-related hearing loss can develop slowly over a number of years, many people can’t tell that their hearing is deteriorating.  There are symptoms you may notice which could be a sign that your hearing is going:

  • You have the TV or radio volume uncomfortably loud for other people
  • You find it difficult to hear dialogue at the cinema or theatre
  • Telephone conversations are hard work
  • You ask people to repeat things or misunderstand what they say
  • You have difficulty following conversations in groups
  • It is harder to hear what others are saying if there is background noise
  • You avoid situations that you used to enjoy because you are struggling to hear

Hearing loss is part of ageing

Often people neglect signs of hearing loss because they feel embarrassed. Hearing loss happens to everyone and is a normal part of the ageing process. People are worried that a hearing aid will make them look old but in fact struggling to hear can is often what ages someone.

Gordon’s top tips for managing hearing loss:

Act quickly

The sooner you seek help, the better your hearing is likely to be for the long-term and, if you need hearing aids, wearing them can help to slow the rate of deterioration.

Regular hearing checks

Having your hearing checked should be part of your regular healthcare routine, whether you are concerned that you may be suffering from hearing loss or not. Specsavers recommends that anyone over the age of 55 has their hearing checked regularly.  Specsavers Audiologists offer a free, comprehensive hearing assessment that lasts only 30 minutes and will discuss your options with you if you have hearing loss.

Avoid overexposure

Any sound that is loud enough (typically over 85dB) and lasts long enough can damage hearing and lead to hearing loss.  Tinnitus is a well-known side effect of spending time in noisy environments and it only takes one instance of overexposure to cause permanent damage, so if you are regularly exposed to loud noise, consider wearing hearing protection.
 
Make the most of life

For many, hearing loss can be incredibly isolating.  Not only is it difficult to follow what people are saying, for some it can be a struggle to take part in the conversation themselves.  Having hearing loss treated means you don’t have to miss out on the joke any longer.

For more information or to book a free hearing test online visit Specsavers Audiologists