Can you hear me?  Hearing loss in seniors is a problem.  Over 36 million Americans suffer from some kind of hearing loss.  About a fifth of those that would benefit from help for hearing trouble get it, this according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Sound exposure, whether at concerts, loud workplace, power tools, or iPods adds up over time, and it is possible to begin losing some hearing in early adulthood.  Smoking and chronic diseases can change blood supply to the ear which can cause damage.   The damage tends to be gradual, so you do not notice it, as someone ages it gets worse and worse, without the person realizing it.  ⅕ of adults from 45-65 has hearing loss, and half of those over 75 have hearing loss according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Here are six early warning signs of hearing loss in seniors

1) Getting frustrated that women and kids don’t speak loudly enough

High-pitched voices are among the first to go.  These sounds are picked up by the most external part of the cochlea, which is the cavity of the inner ear where little hair cells pick up sound vibrations and convert them to sound.  This area of the ear is the most vulnerable to chronic noise or ear problems.

Others Signs: Trouble heading cymbals, the flute, babies crying, squeals, and a birdsong.

2) Not Sure Where Sound Is Coming From

When someone starts talking, people with good hearing know instantly where the sound is coming from in the room.  Out in the woods, and a sharp listener can hear which direction a birdsong is coming from.  Those with hearing loss, the ability to understand where a song is coming from become much more challenging depending where you are and where the sound is coming from.

Other Signs: Twisting your neck to see where a sound or a speaker is located.  Hearing loss can affect one ear more than the other, so getting different sound signals from each ear can make it more difficult to understand where a noise is coming from.

3) Being Asked To Turn The TV Down:
Do people ask to turn the volume down on your TV? Turning up the TV is one of the most common signs of hearing loss.  When we set the volume to a comfortable level to us, that does not mean it is comfortable for others around us.  If one viewer has good hearing, and the other does not, then it is a glaring contrast to who has hearing loss and who does not.

Other Signs: Playing an MP3 player so loud others nearby say they can hear it as well.
hearing loss in seniors
4) People Have To Repeat Themselves To You:
One of the earliest signs of hearing loss comes from you.  Repeatedly asking friends and relatives for clarifications, or to repeat what they said.  If you do not notice this problem, surely your friends and family will.

People may say “I always have to repeat myself.”  “You don’t seem to know what’s going on.” Or they may be blunter accusing you of being deaf, and that you can not hear.

Spouses often become human hearing aides for those will hearing loss.  They repeat everything that is said, which they grow frustrated with over time.

Other Signs:
Mishearing what was said and reply with the wrong response, which makes a person look sloppy, inattentive and will frustrate others or embarrass you.

5) Leaning In Closer To Hear Companions
When you are in a restaurant or at a party, you are constantly leaning in to hear your tablemate, or party guest over the laughter, clinking glasses, and music.  It can be a frustrating environment to be in for everyone.  The problem though may be you.

It can be made difficult to focus on the sounds they want to hear when there is a lot of background noise.  Quieter rooms become more appreciated by the individual.  You may look more intently on the speaker because of your focus to hear what they have to say.  Trying to read lips or interpret body language.

6) Avoiding Favorite Activities or Places
People who have trouble hearing often find that they do not want to go out as much and grow more frustrated or embarrassed that they will not be to enjoy and hear what is going on.

A Solution:
Many people are quick to get glasses when the loss of sight has been experienced, but we as a society are less willing to get help when we lose our hearing.  Hearing aids have evolved to be tuned to your hearing pattern and they are lightweight and inconspicuous.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you know many of the warning signs of hearing loss in seniors, look out for it.  Many seniors will nod yes when the actually have no understood what was said just to be polite.  If you do see some of these warning signs talk with your parent about it and work with doctors and senior care solution providers to fix the issue. Keep a lookout and talk with your loved one about hearing aides and if things get worse they may need additional care.