The Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often a gradual and painless process. Often people don't realize what is happening because they become accustomed to not hearing the same quality of sounds they used to. They assume people are mumbling or speaking more softly than usual. Hearing loss affects your ability to communicate with family, friends and coworkers, and can often interfere with the activities that you love to do and allow you to enjoy life.

Research shows there are good reasons to seek hearing loss treatment sooner rather than later. People with uncorrected hearing loss report feelings of being anxious, depressed, paranoid, angry and insecure. They miss important information at work and find themselves isolated from family and friends.

And, early intervention yields significant benefits:

The earlier people begin to use hearing aids, the more comfortable they are with them, and the easier it is to learn to use them to greatest advantage.

» Get help early to slow the secondary effects of hearing loss

Reduced stimulation to the ears and brain can actually impair the brain's ability to recognize speech adequately. Once speech recognition deteriorates, it is only partially recoverable once hearing aids are in place, so it's important to seek help before the secondary effects of hearing loss occur.

» Early intervention slows cognitive decline and communication problems

It's the old "use it or lose it" concept. When you can't hear what's going on around you, it contributes to reduced mental sharpness and communication abilities. Using hearing aids early can help prevent other effects of hearing loss.

» Early intervention improves the use of hearing aids themselves

The effects of auditory deprivation are cumulative. Over time, with lack of auditory stimulation from the ears, the brain begins to lose its ability to process sounds and recognize speech. Just as muscles gain strength from use, the hearing organ and brain need use to stay sharp.