Part 1: How to Determine if There’s a Problem
It’s common for a person who has developed hearing loss to be the last one to acknowledge it. More often, it’s others in their lives ― children, siblings, close friends ― who first realize there might be a problem. Is someone important to you exhibiting signs of hearing difficulty? If you suspect there’s a problem, but you’re not sure, here are a few ways you can tell whether there’s cause for concern.
Occasional challenge or sign of hearing loss?
- If Mom sometimes has to ask you to repeat what you just said because you’re talking over the television, that might not be a bit deal.
BUT if she has the TV volume set so high it hurts your ears to listen, that’s cause for concern.
- If Dad sometimes forgets to turn off his turn signal in the car that could just be temporary distraction.
BUT if there’s a police siren blaring behind him and he doesn’t notice it until the cop is directly behind him, he might have a problem.
- If your best friend at work pulled the wrong file because she thought you said “Thompson” instead of “Tomlin,” that can happen on occasion.
BUT if she is constantly making these kinds of mistakes and co-workers are starting to question her competence, it might be time to have a private conversation.
Don’t be surprised if broaching the subject of hearing loss is met with denial by a friend or family member, but also don’t let your concerns slide, because hearing loss ultimately impacts all aspects of a person’s life. When left untreated, it could lead to more serious problems like social isolation, which in turn can foster depression or dementia. Or it could cost their career if they’re still employed. Hearing loss may also be an early indicator of an underlying health threat like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the symptoms ― and don’t let your loved one brush them off, either.
Next week, in Part 2 of this post, we’ll provide some ideas for (gently) suggesting it’s time to consider getting hearing aids.