When do you need a hearing aid? Well, obviously, when you can’t hear.
But things are never quite that simple. There are some situations — the buildup of earwax, a perforated eardrum, an infection of the inner ear, or other medical conditions — that can result in hearing loss. These may or may not be situations that require a hearing aid.
For most people, hearing loss is a fact of aging. It’s a good idea to get a hearing screening around the age of 50. This will not only pick up any issues but also will create a baseline with which later tests can be compared and deterioration in hearing abilities tracked.
But if someone younger than 50 seems to be having persistent hearing issues, then they too should be screened.
Here are some of the common signs that a potential hearing issue may need to be examined more closely by a professional:
- It seems that more and more people are mumbling when they speak to you.
- You regularly have to ask people to repeat themselves.
- Other people seem to think that you like the volume on the TV or radio turned up pretty high.
- Hearing things in crowded spaces — movies, public events, houses of worship — seems overly challenging.
- Talking with people in other rooms doesn’t work anymore.
- Group conversations are frustrating.
- Talking on the phone is less pleasurable and effective than it once was.
If any of these things “sound” familiar, then it might be time to make an appointment with an audiologist for a thorough exam of your current hearing capabilities. It’s not at all uncommon for subtle deterioration in the high-end of the spectrum to lead to some of the hearing issues listed, while hearing in most of the spectrum remains normal. Only a professionally administered hearing test can tease out the details.