When you think of hearing loss, you likely picture turning up the TV too loud, asking people to repeat themselves and having a hard time talking on the phone. But there are many signs of hearing loss you may not realize are connected to the condition. Below are three signs of hearing loss you may be overlooking.
1. Your Ears Are Ringing
Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing, hissing, buzzing or whistling in the ears that does not have an external sound source. Tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand, and tinnitus is often one of the earliest signs of hearing loss.
“When it’s quiet, you may start to hear a low-level buzzing or ringing sound in the background. When it becomes more noticeable and is more frequent or constantly there, that means you’ve damaged the nerves in your ear,” explained Robert L. Pincus, M.D., physician in the New York Otolaryngology Group and associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at New York Medical College.
2. You Feel Off-Balance
Your hearing and balance both depend on a healthy inner ear. If there is damage to the hearing system, your balance is likely affected as well.
According to Sreekant Cherukuri, M.D., otolaryngologist in Chicago and founder of mdhearingaid.com, “When people have trouble hearing, they spend so much effort trying to hear that simple things like balance get less of the brain’s attention.”
3. You Have Memory Problems
A study published in Jama Internal Medicine followed 2,000 people above the age of 70 over a six-year period. They found that those with hearing loss had a more rapid decline in thinking skills than those with normal hearing.
“So much of memory is based on what you hear. It’s hard to remember things when you can’t hear,” said Dr. Cherukuri.
This connection is likely in part due to social isolation caused by hearing loss and the brain devoting more energy to processing sound than memory.
If you’re exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it’s important to schedule a hearing test as soon as possible. The earlier hearing loss is identified and treated, the better the outcomes. To schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today!