Hearing loss usually develops very slowly, and it often worsens with age. Hearing loss due to aging is usually permanent. Most individuals with hearing loss can be helped significantly with properly fitted hearing instruments.

It is not unusual for people with a mild to moderate hearing loss to be unaware of their problem. However, their family and friends may be quite aware of the problem. Hearing loss is invisible and usually painless. The reason it “sneaks” up on a person is that the change is very gradual. Most hearing losses develop over a period of 25 to 30 years. By age 50 or 60, there can be enough deterioration to interfere with conversation.

It is important to first determine if you have a hearing loss. If you answer yes to three or more of the following statements, you should consider scheduling an appointment with an audiologist.

I need the radio or TV louder than other family members would like.
I use “huh” or “what” more than before.
I ask people to repeat themselves.
I avoid participating in groups because I don’t hear well.
I avoid speaking to strangers because I don’t hear well.
I watch TV less often because I can’t hear well.
I have difficulty understanding people on the phone.
I try to avoid small talk at family gatherings.
I notice that background noise seems to drown out voices.
I find it necessary to watch people with whom I am speaking.
I am bothered by loud sounds.
I tend to withdraw.
I have arguments with family members because of my hearing.
I guess about what people say, and often I am wrong.
I have trouble with unexpected speech or rapid speech.
I complain that people do not talk clearly anymore.
I miss the punch line of jokes.
I cannot easily locate the direction that sound is coming from.
I have ringing or other sounds (tinnitus) in my ear(s).