How Do You Know if You Have Hearing Loss?

Suzanne FiscelIa, PA-C, BCPA / November 17, 2022

Hearing loss

You laugh more when you can hear more, right?

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

Are you one of the 30 million Americans with hearing loss?

Do you wonder if others are getting too close to you?

Are some of them yelling?

When you go out with others, do you find it hard to hear them?

Does your family tell you the television is too loud?

How do you know if you have hearing loss?

Difficulty understanding words

Asking people to speak clearly and slowly

Trouble hearing with background noise

Trouble hearing letters that are not a,e,i,o, and u

Withdrawing from conversations

Avoiding social settings and events

Turning up the volume on the television or radio.

NOTE: Hearing tends to tire throughout the day.  If you get up in the morning and turn on the radio or the television and it is in high volume, this is an indication that you may have hearing loss.

 

Can I get my hearing tested at home?

NOTE: There are no good reliable home testing products.  Go to either Costco or if you are not a member, sign up here to become one.  Their tests are free. Otherwise, find a place that offers free testing but do not buy hearing aids there until you have shopped around.  Many of these places work off commission and will try to sell you the most expensive hearing aids.  Costco does not work off commission so you would be smart to check them out.

Your other option is to start with low-cost hearing aids, so if you cannot wear them you can return them or have not spent a lot of money.

This one has high reviews.

Ear Centric Easy Charge Rechargeable Hearing Aids are reasonably priced, so they won’t break your budget. They are rechargeable so again, no batteries and extra ongoing costs. The earpiece is so small it will not irritate your ears.

And guess, what? You get answers with their lifetime support.

What is causing my hearing loss?

Earwax – easy fix.  Here’s a super easy way to get wax out of your ears.  After 3 days, if this does not work better than see a doctor or go to the urgent care clinic to get the wax out. It will be soft and easy to get out if you use Debrox for at least 3 evenings beforehand.

Ear infection or tumors – If you notice a significant but gradual hearing loss or pain in the ear, go see your doctor or an ear, nose, or throat (ENT) specialist.  Fill out this form first so you will have the answers the doctor needs in order to diagnose you correctly and treat you properly. You don’t want your doctor to miss a tumor, do you?

Ruptured eardrum – you would know this.  Have your doctor look in your ear. Avoid putting cotton swabs or other instruments in your ears.  It usually just pushed the wax back against the ear drum and then you have to see a doctor to get it out. There’s a saying in medicine, “Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.”

NOTE:  If you have ever cotton-swabbed your ears, and you cough, do you wonder why?  The eardrum is right up against your vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve ends in the stomach. This means it goes through your diaphragm.  The diaphragm is the muscle that has you breathe in and out.  When this nerve is stimulated by your cotton swab, it “hiccups”.  This makes you cough.

Try this instead:

Wally’s Natural Products Organic Ear Oil does not dry out your ear canal leaving dry hard wax. This product is pure and made to help with pain and discomfort, even itching. It protects your canals from irritation. If using hearing aids, ask your hearing aid specialist if you should use this with them. Some are OK, others are not. And if you have a ruptured eardrum that never healed, ask your doctor for advice.

 

Aging – get hearing aids so others can socialize with you.  It can be annoying as many a caregiver will tell you when their loved one can’t hear and won’t wear their hearing aids.

NOTE: It can take up to four months for you to get accustomed to your hearing aids. Don’t quit.  Keep trying and start out small. Wear them for an hour and then gradually move up to 2 hours, until you are wearing them all day. Be patient.

 

Loud Noises – were you in a job with loud noises or did you go to a lot of concerts?  Perhaps you wore your earbuds too loud.

NOTE:  Hearing loss is progressive which means once it starts you can’t stop it.  It becomes a chronic condition.  We can only hope to adjust our hearing aids and technology to keep us happy and social.

 

Medications – Anyone with hearing loss and on medications should run, not walk to their favorite pharmacist and have them review your medications for hearing loss.  Some medications will cause permanent loss and others are temporary until you stop taking the medication.

 

Illness, stroke, and pregnancy – may cause hearing loss.  Some of these conditions may cause ringing in the ears.  Colds and upper respiratory infections can cause ringing in the ears, but it is usually temporary.

 

2 Tips to Improve Hearing and Prevent Hearing loss

 

  1. Stay away from loud noises
  2. Take supplements for better hearing health:  Here is what I recommend:

Neuriva Plus Brain Supplement is proven to help brain health, and improve focus, as an added benefit has the vitamins B12 and B6 for improved hearing.

Most others are full of additives and do not do anything good for you.

Vitamin B12 and B6 are good for hearing loss.

NOTE:  Many people think the ears hear.  In fact, EARS DO NOT HEAR!!  The ears are the transmitters.  It is the BRAIN that actually hears and then figures out what is being said. This is why sometimes you see people with an implant in their scalp.  It lets them hear again.

Check with your doctor first, especially if you are. taking a daily multivitamin.

 

If you live with someone who has hearing loss, try this:

 

    1. Face the person, keep your face in front of them.
    2. Do not talk or yell from another room
    3. Speak clearly and slowly.
    4. Do not shout. Your words may get distorted, and they hear the wrong thing.
    5. Avoid high pitches, especially if you are upset or crying. Most hearing loss starts with high pitches.
    6. Use small sentences and questions.
    7. If you have to breathe through a sentence it is too long. Take a breath at the end of each sentence.  It will slow you down.
    8. Keep your hands away from your face.
    9. Don’t smoke eat or chew while you are talking.
    10. Do not assume your loved one has dementia if they do not respond right away. Sometimes they are trying to figure out what you just said, and this is why they are not responding to you right away.
    11. If they hear better in one ear than the other, lean toward that side.
    12. Before you start the conversation, ask them if they have their hearing aids in.

 

NOTE:  Here’s something that drives most of us crazy.  When we approach someone with the assumption they are not wearing their hearing aids, we tend to shout.  Then they tell us we are shouting.  We ask them if they are wearing their hearing aids.  The next time we see them, we talk softly. Then they tell us they can’t hear us. We ask if they are wearing their hearing aids and they say “No”.  I always asked my patients right up front if they had hearing aids and whether were they wearing them.  This way, they were comfortable with my voice.

 

Please see the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page. 

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Suzanne FiscelIa, PA-C, BCPA

I know exactly what it's like to feel like you just can't keep up. Working a full-time job, raising 3 children as a single mom, and taking care of her aging mother. But after feeling lost, overwhelmed, and guilty for spreading herself too thin, I saw all her patients and their caregivers going through the same thing. I learned how to put simple systems in place to keep my life free from distractions, find free time to do the things I wanted, and enjoy my family along the way. These simple step-by-step solutions have been shared with my patients, friends, and family. They too have found organization, confidence, peace, and freedom. Now we all live the life we love while caregiving! Come join us!
sue

Hi I'm Suzanne

And my mission is to find you practical easy-to-follow solutions for everyday caregiving. Find out more HERE.

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