Gradual hearing loss as we age is quite common. In fact, 50% of people over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss. Often, gradual hearing loss begins with subtle signs, like having trouble hearing someone talk amidst background noise or feeling like the volume on the television is never quite loud enough. These symptoms might be barely recognizable as hearing loss at first, but as time progresses, it becomes more and more obvious that there’s an issue.
The most common first signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty understanding spoken words, especially against background noise
- Difficulty hearing or differentiating consonant sounds
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder
- Frequently asking others to speak more clearly
- A general muffling of sounds, including speech
- Needing to turn the up the volume higher than usual in the absence of additional background noise
- Lack of participation in conversations
The realization that hearing loss is an issue brings with it both concern and confusion. Should you make an appointment with your regular doctor or try to see a specialist? What happens next? The right plan of action makes all the difference in the quality of treatment you receive.
How to Protect Your Hearing
The steps outlined here are intended for people who are experiencing gradual hearing loss. If hearing loss is a sudden event, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to be seen right away. If your physician is unavailable, head directly to an emergency room for an assessment.
Step 1: Don’t Lie to Yourself about Hearing Loss – When hearing loss first occurs, it can be easy to sweep it under the rug and think it’s no big deal. Hearing loss is a very significant health issue on its own, but the underlying cause could stem from something even more serious. Hearing loss impacts your life and requires medical attention.
Step 2: Make an Appointment with a Hearing Specialist – Your regular doctor can do an initial check. You’ll need a specialist for a complete assessment and to help guide you through your treatment options, however.
Step 3: Learn What’s Covered Under Your Insurance Policy – Health insurance policies offer varying degrees of coverage for hearing loss services and devices like hearing aids. Learning what your coverage is will help you make the best possible decisions about your treatment.
Step 4: Consider Your Treatment Options and Stay Open to Change – Talk through all your options with your doctor and your family. Also, keep in mind that the first hearing aids you try might not be the best fit for your lifestyle. Stay open to new options.
Step 5: Don’t Keep It to Yourself – There’s no reason to hide your hearing loss. From a mental health perspective, it’s important to talk about your condition so that you feel supported.
Stop Suffering Alone with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can affect your physical and mental health, along with your quality of life. If you or someone you care about is showing signs of hearing loss, the time to act is now. Call our office today at (561) 349-6630 to schedule an appointment.