You Might Have Hearing Loss If……

Right now, thousands, perhaps millions, of people are struggling with a secret question. For some it has been a years-long internal battle.

Do I have hearing loss?

Yes, I do.

No, I don’t.

I couldn’t possibly, there’s no history of it in my family.

But I’m not hearing some things the way I used to.

So what, everyone’s got the same issues. Besides, I’m too young.

But my ears ring sometimes.

So? I still hear my wife, and I haven’t turned the TV any louder…I don’t think.

I’m worried that I have hearing loss, but how do I know?

I’ll wait awhile, a couple of years, maybe. It will improve.

Do I have hearing loss?

I don’t want to be an alarmist, let alone a crazy woman walking around yelling to anyone who will listen: “I have hearing loss, you have hearing loss, we ALL have hearing loss! Admit it now and be saved!!’  However, recent studies show that a huge chunk of the population does have hearing loss, yet many are slow to admit it  – and slower still to do something about it.

But, how does a person know for sure if they have a hearing problem? Many websites offer standard hallmarks of hearing loss, asking if any of the following apply:

People seem to mumble.

I ask people to repeat themselves more frequently.

I give inappropriate answers.

I find group gatherings or noisy situations to be stressful so I stay home.

I can hear people. I just don’t understand them.

For those who answer yes to any or all of the above, the recommendation is to get a hearing assessment (again).  Ths checklist is short and snappy, even helpful. But by the time someone goes to this website for answers, there are many existing clues that should lead to a eureka moment that all is not tickety-boo between the ears.

You Might Have Hearing Loss If…..

1. Your family and friends say you do.

2. You’re waiting in a crowd for an elevator, turning like a rotisserie to see which elevator lights up. You turn just in time to see everyone else in the elevator, looking at you oddly as the door closes on them.

3. Your TV volume drives others from the room.

4. In a noisy, lowly lit restaurant, you order the server’s recommended special of the day, and then wonder how (and why) you’re going to choke down the steak and kidney pie a la mode. (Is THAT what she said?)

5. ‘Pardon’ is your favorite word.

6. You’re in a busy clinic, waiting for your name to be called.  Suddenly, you’re the last one there, except for the custodian mopping the floor.

7. The dentist looms over you with a mask covering his lips and a sharp thing in his hand.  You see the mask move and you hazard an answer “Ok, that’s fine”.  Then the pain starts.

8. People are waving at you more these days. They’re not being friendly, just trying to get your attention.

9. On a nature hike, you and a friend see a flock of geese hit the sky.  Your friend covers her ears and says, “That’s so loud”. You’re thinking it’s not so bad.

10. Each week, you take out the garbage at the last moment when you hear the noisy truck coming up the street.  This week, you’re thinking the garbage truck is late – and look up just in time to see it rumble by your house.

11. Your family doctor says your hearing is normal ‘for your age’, but maybe you should get checked by a specialist.

12. The movie is loud enough, but when the actors face away from the camera, you can’t understand them.

13. Your partner whispers in your ear at a social gathering.  You answer, “Sorry, honey, what?”  Your friend says from three feet away, “He wants to go home and make out.”

14.  You read lips like books. You can tell a good pair of lips by their cover, and nothing beats conversing with a great pair of lips.

15. Young children sound like gerbils.

16. People do seem to mumble more than they used to.

17. The audiologist says you do. I’m telling you, it’s not wax, you have hearing loss.

18. You and your friends are sitting at a picnic table, and suddenly a dog barks.  Everyone looks in one direction and you look in another.

19. You’re listening to your favorite rock song, and then realize your MP3 player is not on.

20. Romantic ambiance ain’t what it used to be. Other diners have one candle on their table, you need 12 on yours.

21. Your little, inner voice of truth tells you that you do have hearing loss.

I’m not a hearing health professional. But in my opinion, if anyone recognizes themself in any of these situations, maybe it’s time to get help and be saved.

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

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