Pure tone audiometry is used to evaluate and diagnose issues related to hearing loss. Individuals should get this hearing test on a regular basis for early detection and effective treatment. A person may consider this test if they notice several warning signs. Difficulties in understanding people clearly in a conversation is usually the first warning symptom. The inability to hear in places with background noise may cause an individual to subsequently withdraw from social situations. Family members and loved ones may notice the steady increase in the volume on the TV and radio. Finally, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common sign that needs to be addressed at the next scheduled appointment with a qualified audiologist.
A Pattern of Difficulty in Hearing Others
Difficulty in understanding people clearly is usually the first major warning sign. For example, individuals may perceive everyone as either speaking too low or constantly mumbling, so many usually ask family and loved ones to repeat words or “speak up” in conversation. Straining to listen to a conversation on the telephone may also become a common occurrence.
Those who suspect this issue should closely consider the demographic they have the most trouble understanding. As women and children tend to have more high-pitched voices, people may not be able to hear these groups.
Difficulty Hearing in Crowded Areas
Some people notice that words are always getting drowned out by background noise whenever they find themselves conversing with someone in a crowded area such as a restaurant, party, or even a busy street. Individuals who notice a problem with pinpointing even the general location of certain sounds and voices in a crowded room should also consider a hearing test.
The inability to socialize in even a moderately crowded area due to hearing loss can be more than frustrating; it can also prove to be debilitating. Since listening is one half of social interactions, people may withdraw from conversation to avoid further embarrassment. This interference with an active social life may cause isolation and emotional distress, so it’s imperative to consider a hearing test if this warning sign is noticed.
An Increase in Volume on TV and Radio
Individuals may feel that their radio and TV are always set at a volume that is way too low for their enjoyment or comfort, but the volume setting on the television may not be the actual problem. A common warning sign includes having to constantly crank up the volume on their television and radio; meanwhile, loved ones may complain that both devices are always too loud. This warning sign can also serve as a common cause. While young adults enjoy blasting music on their speakers and headphones, many experts warn against too much loud noise and the long-term damage it can have on a person’s ears drums.
Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)
Tinnitus is usually described as ringing or buzzing in the ears, but the sound has also been described as a click, hiss, or roar. Tinnitus is generally caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, so preventative measures, such as earplugs at work and keeping devices at a moderate volume, are strongly advised.
Tinnitus is not considered a disease on its own, but rather a symptom of a much larger issue, such as an ear infection or complication stemming from a previous head injury.
According to one 2013 Brazilian study that included more than 500 participants who suffered from hearing loss, 43 percent had also said to have experienced tinnitus.
If an individual notices tinnitus occurring more frequently, they should discuss this with an audiologist.