A lot of people who are aware that their hearing has begun to deteriorate remain somewhat reluctant to ask for help about it. Whether they are simply trying to ignore the disheartening fact that they have a problem (especially for the older generation, who may take it as a sign of getting old) or they prefer to never ask anyone for help, by not seeing a doctor or audiologist about their hearing loss they are putting themselves at risk of further damage.
Even if they are perhaps embarrassed by the fact that they’re having trouble, you really should try and get them to seek some sort of help. Here are some tips on how to recognise hearing loss.
Gain an Understanding
The most important thing to do is to understand that hearing loss can affect anyone. Although it often occurs alongside old age and the deterioration of the body, it can happen at any time.
The hearing loss can be caused by working in a noisy environment (such as a building site), it can be hereditary, or it can simply degrade over time like someone’s vision.
Don’t think that because someone is young, they can’t be suffering from a loss of hearing.
Look out for Unusual Behaviour
There are a number of different signs that someone is experiencing hearing loss. Here are some of the most common.
Requiring frequent repetition, or complaining that others are mumbling when talking.
Having difficulty hearing quieter or environmental noises, like bird song or traffic.
Struggling to follow a conversation involving two or more other participants.
Experiencing trouble in hearing conversations when in a noisy environment like a restaurant.
Complaining of ringing in their ears (tinnitus).
Intently watching a person’s mouth as they speak.
Nodding their head in agreement at things that make no sense agreeing with.
Acting isolated, being withdrawn – having difficulty communicating can cause someone to feel more alone than usual.
If you notice any of these signs, try and convince them to get a free hearing test.
Recognising the Signs in a Child
If you feel as though your child is having difficulty hearing, take them to see a doctor immediately. Look at the NHS website for hearing impairments for further information. Here are some of the more common signs to look out for with your children.
Not turning toward the source of a sound (such as you speaking) by the age of about 4 months.
Paying more attention to sounds which can be felt (like a mobile phone vibrating) than those that are just heard.
Not saying single words like “mama” by the time he or she has turned one year old.
Responding only to certain sounds, rather than all of them.
Turning his or her head when seeing you, but not when you simply call their name – this is often mistaken for a child not paying any attention, but is in fact one of the more common signs of a partial loss of hearing.