Signs You Need a Hearing Aid

Whether it’s chatting with friends and loved ones, playing with a pet, speaking to a physician, or working with a CPA or banker, clear communication is vitally important to our lives.
For most of us, hearing is our means to understand common types of interactions. Fortunately, when hearing becomes a challenge, hearing instruments are one solution.
Hearing loss isn’t always easy to detect. Symptoms often develop gradually, and, since the brain constantly adapts, you might not even notice differences.
Hearing loss is common and can occur at any age. Learning to recognize the signs early will improve your chances of successful treatment. If two or more of these signs describes your current experience, it might be time to consider a hearing test.

Common Signs of Hearing Loss May Include:

  1. Mumbling when speaking, especially with multiple people.
  2. Often asking people to repeat themselves.
  3. Trouble following conversations in group settings, especially when background noise is present — such as in a moderately loud restaurant.
  4. Watching TV or listening to music too loudly.
  5. Inability to hear every day sounds (like a ringing doorbell, car blinkers, or a cat meowing).
  6. Difficulty hearing when not facing the speaker, such as in the car or driving.
  7. Trouble understanding words to keep up with the flow of a conversation.
  8. Difficulty engaging in or following telephone conversations.
  9. Tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
  10. Exposure to an excessively loud amount of noise, such as factory work, truck driving, shooting, or loud concerts.

How Do You Know You Need a Hearing Aid?

So, you’ve had a hearing test, and the audiologist finds hearing loss. When is it appropriate to get hearing aids?
Preventing difficulty with communication and cognitive decline is vital. We know some people with even very slight hearing loss can have trouble with certain interactions, such as engaging in meetings at work, talking with an employer, or understanding young children. This level of hearing loss may not affect everyday activities, but, for these people, hearing aids may be essential for their quality of life.
Others may experience mild hearing impairment in which they notice little difficulty; however, they may experience irritation with background noise. In many cases, friends and family will notice this first. It is important to pursue treatment with hearing aids at this time. Although you or your loved one may not notice a big difference with devices, it is essential to keep neural auditory connections active to prevent cognitive degeneration.

The Connection between Cognitive Decline and the Ability to Hear

There is an irrefutable link between hearing and memory loss. Although the reason for the correlation isn’t completely understood, several theories exist. One suggests that an increased cognitive load on the brain, when trying to hear properly, taxes resources otherwise available for memory and concentration.
Research published in 2014, found people with even mild hearing loss showed more “gray matter” brain shrinkage in areas of the brain that process memory and hearing. Images of these areas is similar to the damage seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Another study published in 2011, found that those with moderate hearing loss are three times as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Another factor may be the social isolation individuals with hearing loss may experience. Lack of socialization is shown to accelerate symptoms of cognitive decline and dementia.
The final answer on when you need to get hearing aids?
As soon as you or your loved ones notice two or more of the signs listed above, or if you receive even a mild hearing loss diagnosis.
Hearing aids can significantly improve your quality of life and prevent cognitive decline. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss — your family and your brain will thank you.

About the Author

Check out the latest issue of our online magazine!

More for You


Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad

Cooking with your Grandkids can be fun! This unexpected spin on the classic burger will delight even the pickiest eaters. No grill required! Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad Ingredients: 4 sesame seed hamburger bun tops (or unseeded) …

Read More
Life & Lifestyle

New Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Living

Although this may not be the most fascinating thing you read today, it’s essential for good health. It’s well-known that dietary intake affects our health. Sixty percent of adults have one or more diet-related chronic …

Read More
Topics & Perspectives

One Woman’s Kitsch is Another Mom’s Tchotchke

My mother, bless her heart, could have used an extra bathroom. With four kids claiming the bathroom upstairs and the downstairs “utility room” overflowing with loads of laundry, she resorted to the kitchen windowsill to …

Read More