Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States, afflicting about 48 million people. Unfortunately, many of the factors that can impact your auditory health — such as age, illness and genetics — are largely beyond your control. However, you can take measures to protect your hearing and help prevent significant hearing loss. Start by asking yourself whether you exhibit any of these 10 signs of hearing loss.
10 signs you may have hearing loss
- You have to listen to the radio or television at a high volume.
- You have trouble understanding what people say, especially when you’re in a loud environment.
- You tend to think people are mumbling when they talk to you.
- You find it hard to hear people on the phone.
- You often ask people to repeat themselves.
- You start avoiding social situations where you’ll find it difficult to hear or communicate.
- You’re exhausted after attending social events.
- You have tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
- You have trouble hearing female and children’s voices, consonant sounds, songbirds, your car’s turn signal and beeps on timers and microwaves.
- You can’t follow a conversation when more than one person is speaking.
The causes of hearing loss
Advanced age is the most common cause of hearing loss, which affects one out of three people between the ages of 65 and 74. Loud and continuous noise can also have an impact. For example, close to 50 percent of carpenters and plumbers report some hearing loss. Some medications and illnesses can cause hearing loss, in addition to head injuries and trauma.
Ways to prevent hearing loss
Hearing loss is often permanent so the best way to combat it is through prevention. You can prevent hearing loss by wearing earplugs when you’re around sounds as loud as or louder than traffic like lawn mowers, power sanders, vacuums and concerts.
When possible, stay away from the source of loud noises. If your workplace is loud, have a discussion with your boss about hearing safety and whether it’s appropriate to install barrier walls or mufflers in noisy areas.
If you think you may be losing your hearing or want to learn how to keep your ears healthy, contact a primary healthcare provider with Goshen Physicians Family Medicine.