Hearing loss can affect a person at anytime in their life, but as we age the chances to experience some form of loss increase. The earlier any hearing loss signs are diagnosed, the better chances for intervention and treatment. With this in mind, family members are often the best first source of qualitative data on hearing loss of a relative or loved one. Undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss affects communication, social interaction, and quality of life. Be aware of some key signs and take action to seek treatment.

The most common indicator of hearing loss is the need to consistently repeat one’s self when talking with another person. If your partner or friend is regularly asking you to repeat sentences or questions, they may be suffering from mild hearing loss. By documenting the situation and pointing out the problem, you can encourage them to go to a hearing screening to test how significant the loss is and what can be done to improve their hearing.

Hearing loss can also lead to misinterpretation of what was said; this can result in conversations or actions that are inappropriate or awkward. Untreated, this situation leads to a disconnection between the sufferer and those in their social or work circle. Failure to seek help only widens the gap and makes communication more difficult.

Anyone suffering from hearing loss begins to get isolated. The inability to communicate clearly is often construed as confusion or even dementia. Hearing loss can be treated so if a family member or loved one displays early signs of disorientation or confusion, be sure to have their hearing tested and treated. Understanding that the problem is isolated to hearing issues and that treatments are available is a huge relief for many.

Other issues that may be a result of hearing loss include mental strain and fatigue. The inability to properly hear and communicate puts great stress on a person. They may become irritable, less patient, and withdrawn under the effort to socialize with limited hearing. If the signs indicate possible hearing loss, seek help (see do I need hearing aids). The earlier the situation is dealt with the better the chance for treatment to restore full hearing and a higher quality of life.