Senior Health Signs It’s Time to See an Audiologist: 8 Red Flags 5/3/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff As people get older, it’s not uncommon for them to notice changes in their hearing. And like most of the other signs of aging, the transformation can be subtle at the beginning. But it’s important not to ignore those first signs it’s time to see an audiologist; people who don’t manage their hearing loss often end up depressed, have subsequent memory problems, and feel isolated. Since good hearing contributes so much toward a happy life, it can be outright frightening to someone who realizes they are losing it. And no one can help a person with hearing loss until a professional identifies the problem. It can be challenging to detect hearing loss, so here are eight warning signs to inform you that a visit to the audiologist is in order. 1. Turning up the volume or using closed captioning on the TV You’ll notice if you are starting to turn the TV volume up. If you don’t, someone with normal hearing will point it out. If it’s an occasional incident, it could have something to do with the specific broadcast. But if you require more volume regularly, it’s an indication you should have your ears checked. 2. Struggling to understand what people are saying to you If you ask people to repeat themselves more often than usual, it could be a sign of hearing loss; and one of the signs it’s time to see an audiologist. Other signs include having trouble understanding people when there is background noise, problems with consonants, and finding yourself trying to read lips. All of these symptoms point to a trip to the audiologist. 3. Ringing in your ears Ringing or whistling in the ears is called tinnitus. It affects approximately 26 million Americans and has no cure. However, an audiologist might be able to recommend specific therapies and treatments to help you find relief. Since tinnitus may be a symptom of a more serious issue, you should have it checked immediately. 4. Missing phone calls and doorbells Hearing loss can manifest in the form of failing to hear particular pitches and tones. You might start missing phone calls, visitors, or alarms. Or you might not be hearing the birds singing in the morning. If any of these are already happening, they are more than likely being caused by hearing loss. Untreated Hearing Loss Could Be Affecting Your Brain 5. Turning your head to hear better Do you find yourself needing to twist your head or neck to hear things? If so, you may have developed hearing loss in one ear. Also, cupping your ear to amplify a conversation and drown out background noise is a significant sign. While these methods could work in the short term, eventually, they will no longer be effective. 6. A buildup of earwax While some earwax helps keep your ears free of outside dirt and bacteria, excessive amounts of it in and around your ears should trigger a check-up. Do not try to remove the wax yourself. Most of the so-called ear-cleaning products on the market are ineffective at best and damaging at worst. 7. Feeling exhausted after a simple conversation Many older adults in the throes of hearing loss will labor to hear someone during a conversation. Without even knowing it, all the straining to get closer, lip-reading, or concentrating on the speaker instead of background noise leaves them feeling exhausted. Although hearing loss is not the only sign of fatigue, being overly tired is often linked to it. If you find that conversations have begun to leave you feeling drained, this is certainly one of the biggest signs it’s time to see an audiologist. They will test for hearing issues and let you know whether or not the tiredness is directly related to hearing loss or if something else is likely at play. 8. Recurring ear infections While ear infections occur more often in childhood, having them as an adult is one more of the signs it’s time to see an audiologist. Ear infections can be painful and cause ringing in the ears. If they occur frequently, there could be an issue that requires medical attention. Don’t hesitate to call for an appointment if you think you have hearing loss. Hearing tests are quick and painless and should be conducted by an audiologist. Read More Seniors Guide Staff Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible. Related Resources Welcome Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Finally, hearing aids have become more affordable. Seniors Guide looks at the advent of over-the-counter hearing aids. There is no ... [Read More] 5/3/2021 | By Kari Smith Finding Time to Exercise is Easier Than You Think Finding time to exercise is easier than you think. Read on for some great practical tips on how to fit ... [Read More] 5/3/2021 | By Howard LeWine, M.D.