How to Know if You’re Hard of Hearing or Going Deaf?

Elderly man tries to hear. An expressive gesture.

You may have concerns that you are going deaf or that you’re struggling to hear. If you think that being hard of hearing, impaired or deaf are all the same thing, it’s important to note that there are many differences between the terms.

Deaf usually refers to a hearing loss that is so severe there is no functional hearing or very little of it. Hard of hearing refers to a specific degree of hearing loss. This can mean there may be enough residual hearing that a device like a hearing aid can help an individual to process speech or noises around them. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may struggle to understand speech due to the inability to hear their own voice.

Signs of hearing loss

As with any medical condition, the sooner you address any deterioration in your hearing, the better the chance you will improve your quality of life. If you have concerns that you are losing your hearing the most common signs are as follows:

  • You have trouble hearing on the telephone even though the volume is up to its fullest setting. In this instance make sure you check the volume and if you tend to turn up the volume gradually this could be an early sign of hearing loss.
  • You have trouble following conversations when people are talking at the same time. As we get older, our ability to process different signals can reduce. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with conversations when two or more people speak at the same time you may have hearing loss.
  • Your TV is too loud. If you watch a lot of television shows and find it is hard to follow, especially when the music is overpowering the dialogue and you try to turn the TV up but doesn’t make the sound clearer, it’s important to pay attention to other people in the room. If everybody else is uncomfortable or your neighbors can hear it, it might be time to get a hearing test.
  • You strain to hear conversations. Do you find yourself fatigued because you’re trying to follow conversations every day? This isn’t discussed widely but it’s an important point. If you spend a lot of time trying to focus on conversations with family members, coworkers and friends, leaving you tired at the end of the day, hearing loss might be present.
  • You struggle to hear in noisy environments. If you go to parties or social functions and find the background noise distracts you from hearing people right in front of you, this is a very common complaint. 
  • You ask people to repeat themselves a lot. Sometimes we just don’t hear someone but if you are doing this so much that it frustrates people around you, especially your loved ones, you might not be getting the appropriate sound signals to process speech properly.
  • You think people don’t speak clearly. This is another important point. Some people cannot hear high frequencies. They may be able to hear people talking but are unable to comprehend what is being said.
  • You have trouble hearing children and women. Women and children speak in a higher pitch and frequency. If you have no problems hearing your male friend with a deep voice but struggle to hear your wife or grandchild this can be due to hearing loss as you age. The higher frequencies disappear first.
  • You become frustrated during conversations. Have people commented that you are more annoyed at people around you recently? This is a normal feeling as communication is such a crucial part of our everyday lives. but if you are annoyed at others when it is a hearing problem, it’s important to get this remedied as soon as possible.

Getting help

Remember, even if you have one or two of these issues this may not mean you are going hard of hearing. We all have issues understanding people in specific environments. However, if you recognize many of these signs, going for a hearing test is a good place to begin. If you are hard of hearing or going deaf, these issues are well understood. 

There are solutions for every person out there to live their lives without struggling during everyday conversation. Call an audiologist today to book a hearing test so you can get back to the way it used to be, or ask about our selection of hearing aids. You can learn more about Kirsch Audiology at 310-586-5533 and get crucial advice on the next steps to help you if you think you are hard of hearing or going deaf.