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Hearing aids can significantly improve a person's quality of life. The loss of one's hearing, though, can sneak up on them. Frequently, it's the folks around them who first notice a problem. If you're worried a loved one may need a hearing test, you can look for these 6 signs of trouble.
Social or Family Isolation
Many people with hearing loss find social situations difficult. They may avoid interactions, but it's not necessarily an active form of avoidance. People often drift toward certain social patterns without noticing the changes. A person's social life is important, though, and hearing devices can bring often that back if you intervene early.
Be aware this can lead to drifting away from family members. Be active in keeping up with loved ones, even if they're not elderly. You may be surprised to learn why it's happening. For that matter, they may be surprised to learn they've suffered hearing loss.
Trouble with Phone Conversations
For practical reasons, phone manufacturers can only crank the volume on a set so far. If someone has hearing loss, they may max out their phone's volume and still have trouble holding down conversations. You might notice a loved one not keeping up with the conversation when you're on the phone with them, for example.
Some people avoid judgments about hearing loss by making vague statements. You might ask them a highly specific question and only get a generalized answer. Especially if they're experiencing massive hearing loss, they respond with something completely off-target.
Notably, this may also be a sign of cognitive decline. However, audiological testing is cheap compared to some forms of cognitive tests. Checking their hearing will rule out at least one possibility.
Loud TV or Stereo
Overcompensation for a loss of hearing is a common problem. A person may set their TV and audio equipment to levels uncomfortable for others.
Children may be particularly sensitive to loudness. If someone's grandchildren or great-grandchildren seem especially put off by the noise, you may want to take note even if it doesn't bother you. Remember, kids tend to have much better hearing than adults do.
People change their hobbies to focus on what works best for them. Some of that's natural, but there may be a pattern where someone avoids activities that require attentive listening or extensive verbal communication.
Most alarm systems use high-pitched sounds. Unfortunately, a person's sensitivity to these high ranges often is the first to go. If someone starts waking late, you may want to ask if they slept through an alarm.
For more information on hearing aids, contact a doctor near you.