How to Recognize Hearing Loss

It's not hard to identify when someone is having trouble hearing if he or she is constantly asking others to speak up or repeat themselves. But did you know other signs of hearing loss are sometimes mistaken for dementia? For example, forgetfulness is sometimes a symptom of hearing loss. When the ability to communicate is disrupted by hearing loss, more of a person's mental energy is spent trying to hear—leaving less mental energy available for other tasks—such as memory.

Common Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Inability to hear women's and children's voices especially
  • Turning up the volume to levels others find intolerable
  • Conversation in places with background noise is especially difficult and frustrating
  • Forgetting things
  • Claiming others are always "mumbling"
  • Seeming more irritable
  • Not paying attention
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Saying things that are irrelevant to the situation
  • Not being able to follow a fast-moving conversation
  • Lacking their usual keen insight
  • Relating well in a one-to-one setting but seeming a bit "out of it" in groups

A hearing test is the first step in identifying hearing loss or ruling it out as a contributing cause to other behavioral changes.