Hearing changes often do not result in an overall loss of volume. Some sounds remain as audible as they always were yet others become harder to hear. You might notice that words just don't sound clear.
Why is clarity affected? Many people with hearing loss find it especially difficult to hear certain sounds because their hearing loss affects a certain range of pitches. In typical hearing loss, softer, higher pitch sounds become harder to hear, particularly from a distance.
Speech has many quiet, rapidly changing high pitched sounds. A lot of guesswork may be needed to understand the actual word if some of the speech sounds are not heard clearly. An example is the word "fit" which can easily be confused with "sit", "tick" or "sick". Conversations become more challenging when someone is speaking indirectly, or when there is background noise.
Awareness is the First Step
Because people with hearing loss often do fairly well in quiet, face-to-face situations, signs of hearing loss often may not be obvious to the primary care doctor. Only a small percentage of doctors routinely screen for hearing loss. It's up to you to be alert to the signs and to tell your doctor if you suspect that your hearing maybe changing. To make a quick assessment of your own hearing, try answering these simple questions.
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