How to tell if you have hearing loss
By William Schenk, BC-HIS, ACA.
Fullerton Hearing Center
Hearing loss can be due to the aging process, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (at birth) or genetic factors, diseases, as well as a number of other causes.
Recent data suggests there are over 34 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss often occurs gradually throughout a lifetime. People with hearing loss compensate often without knowing they have hearing loss.
You may have hearing loss if:
- You hear people speaking but have to strain to understand their words.
- You frequently ask people to repeat what they said.
- You don’t laugh at jokes because you miss too much of the story or the punch line.
- You frequently complain that people mumble.
- You need to ask others about the details of the meeting you just attended
- You play the TV or radio louder than your friends, spouse and relatives.
- You cannot hear the doorbell or telephone ring.
- You find that looking at people when they speak to you makes them easier to understand
- You miss sounds such as birds singing, leaves blowing or rain falling.
You find yourself avoiding certain places because they are too noisy or people because you can’t understand them. If you have any of these symptoms you should see a Licensed Hearing
Healthcare Professional to have a formal hearing evaluation. This hearing test, or audiologic evaluation, is diagnostic in nature. A diagnostic audiologic evaluation is more than just pressing a button when you hear a beep! Rather, an audiologic evaluation allows the
Hearing Healthcare Professional to determine the type, nature and degree of your hearing loss. In addition, your sensitivity, acuity and accuracy to speech understanding will be assessed. The Hearing
Healthcare Professional may test for speech understanding at different volume levels and in different simulated environments. This additional testing may be performed in order to provide the Hearing Healthcare
Professional with an indication as to how successful of a candidate you might be for amplification.
The hearing evaluation should also include a thorough case history (interview) as well as a visual inspection of the ear canal and eardrum. Additional tests of the middle ear function may also be performed.
The results of the evaluation can be useful to a physician, if the Hearing Healthcare Professional believes your hearing loss may benefit from medical intervention.
Results of the hearing evaluation are plotted on a graph called an audiogram. The audiogram provides a visual view of your hearing test results across various pitches or frequencies, the ones necessary for understanding speech.