The Warning Signs and Real-Life Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss symptoms aren’t associated only with your hearing. Be aware of the important and predictive signs of hearing loss — and how to help — with this guide.
How Hearing Loss Happens: Hearing loss can occur as a result of many different factors, including noise exposure, trauma, disease, aging, and ototoxicity. It can also be associated with many other concurrent health conditions, so early identification may be critically important to your overall health and well-being.
The sooner you’re aware that there’s a problem, the sooner you can treat it. Hearing is just as important as all the other senses; it gives us a vital connection to the world around us, keeps us safe, and helps us live and enjoy life fully.
Hearing loss is strongly associated with increased risk of dementia, anxiety, and depression, as well as poorer overall quality of life. It has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. We’ve categorized each warning sign under three sections — physical, psychological, and social — to help you better understand the real-life impacts of hearing loss. Also, notice how each one of these categories affects the other.
- Eating and sleeping problems
- Feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and anger
- Sadness or depression due to isolation
- Low self-esteem
- Increased social isolation
- Problems communicating with a spouse, friends, and relatives
- Problems interacting with co-workers at work
- Difficulty concentrating
Even though essential to social, emotional and cognitive development, hearing is often a sense that’s overlooked medically. Early identification and intervention for hearing loss in children is critically important and can lessen the impact of hearing deficits on a child’s educational, emotional, and language development, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential socially and academically. Here are some of the warning signs of hearing loss in children.
A delay in your child’s development of age-appropriate communication skills is one of the biggest hallmarks of hearing loss.
- Not startling at loud noises
- Not recognizing a familiar voice
- Not moving eyes in direction of sound
- Not enjoying games of peek-a-boo
- Not babbling
- Not vocalizing excitement or displeasure
- Around 1 year of age, has not spoken one or two words
As with newborns and infants, children’s communication skills can give clues to their hearing health.
- Unable to point to two body parts when asked
- Doesn’t enjoy being read to
- Doesn’t understand action words like “run” or “sit”
- Sits close to the television
- Is unable to form short sentences like “I go”
- Doesn’t ask “why” or “what” questions
- Can’t answer “why” or “what” questions
- Doesn’t use plurals or verbs
Awareness is key in helping to treat hearing loss. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, contact an audiologist. They will be able to assess the nature of the hearing loss, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe treatment if necessary. Look for a provider who takes into account your lifestyle and goals when recommending treatment.