Are They Ignoring Me . . . or Is It Hearing Loss?
These are typical complaints I hear from people who bring in a family member for an audiological evaluation. Common symptoms of hearing loss are difficulty understanding the speaker’s message even though you know they are talking, feeling as though others are mumbling, and difficulty hearing in noisy places.
That being said, there are situations in which even people with good hearing may have some difficulty. These situations include very noisy places where people are talking, such as restaurants; situations where other things are making noise (for example, in the kitchen with the dishwasher running); times when you cannot see the speaker’s face; and locations where you are far away from the speaker.
People with hearing loss will also experience difficulty in these noisy conditions; generally they have even greater problems with noise than do people without hearing loss.
So, how can you tell if a family member or friend has hearing loss?
The first step can be a hearing screening such as the National Hearing Test. Even if the result of the NHT is normal, anyone who feels as if they are experiencing difficulty hearing should seek help from a qualified audiologist.
An audiological evaluation will show if a hearing loss is present, and the audiologist can help identify other hearing health related issues that need to be addressed. I encourage family members to be supportive of the person with hearing loss by learning good communication strategies and by encouraging hearing aid use when appropriate.