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Understanding hearing loss

Is my loved one affected?

Hearing loss explained

Hearing loss touches nearly everyone. Even if you don’t suffer from it yourself, it is very likely you know someone who does. At Vibe, we believe in the power of education to improve quality of life for anyone affected by the fading of this essential connection to the world. From our experience, we know that a person suffering from hearing loss might not recognize it themselves, or know what to do about it. And as with many bigger problems, the first sign could be the person’s denial that anything is wrong. If the person’s reaction to getting a hearing test is consistently refusing that there is a need for it, this would be even more reason to broach the topic.

Even if the person has learned over the years to cope with their declining hearing by always straining to listen, withdrawing from conversations, or by talking a lot so they can be sure to not miss what other people say, it may be time for a kind and compassionate conversation to address the hearing loss. Keep reading to learn about the three main kinds of hearing loss. Knowing which one you might be dealing with is the first step to learning what to do about it.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most common form of hearing loss, related to nerve signal processing from the ear to the brain, and especially related to the aging process.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Hearing loss related to problems with sound conduction along the hearing pathway. Some causes of conductive hearing loss can be corrected with the right treatment.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss involved both the sensorineural and conductive pathways, and treatment will be drawn from both categories

Signs of hearing loss

Hearing loss is often known as an invisible impairment – you cannot see how a person is hearing just by looking at them. Only by interacting with this person over a period of time, will the signs of hearing loss be more noticeable. In fact, the indications that someone has a hearing loss can be more apparent to others before it is apparent to the person themselves. If you have been wondering if your loved one might be suffering from hearing loss, here are some ways to know.

7 ways to know

Do you or does your loved one experience any of the following:

  • Not responding when their name is called?
  • Often asking for things to be repeated?
  • Misunderstand, or withdraw from conversations?
  • Turning their head to be closer to the sound?
  • Turn up the volume of the TV?
  • Miss the doorbell or telephone?
  • Attend fewer social events than before due to feeling frustrated?
2 or more signs? It is time for a hearing test

Emotional impact of hearing loss

In addition to the outward physical signs of hearing loss that someone may display, they could also be experiencing these feelings:

  • Feeling stressed to hear what others are saying
  • Feeling exhausted from straining to hear the entire day
  • Feeling irritated at others because they seem to be mumbling
  • Feeling pressure to keep up with conversations in social situations
  • Feeling nervous about if they will be able to understand important information
  • Feeling embarrassed to be with new people
How to bring up hearing loss with your loved one

Ringing in the ears

Ringing or buzzing in the ears is also called tinnitus, and is a condition that can be alleviated with the use of hearing aids. Ringing in the ears can be a secondary symptom of hearing loss, and should be assessed and treated along with the hearing loss.

Learn more about tinnitus

I can hear, but I can’t understand

As most hearing loss develops gradually, it is common for people who are not yet aware of their hearing loss to fault others, or the environment for their hearing challenges. People with hearing loss may say, “If only people wouldn’t mumble, I wouldn’t have to ask them to repeat themselves so often”, or “Back in my day, people just spoke more clearly.” As comical as this may seem, from this person’s perspective, these are normal conclusions to draw if one doesn’t know that the source of the challenge is internal.

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The first step to better hearing is a consultation with one of our hearing care experts. Make your appointment now.

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