7 Signs Your Loved One Has Hearing Loss

By Barry Keate
Barry Keate, has lived with tinnitus over 40 years and has published 150+ research articles on numerous aspects of tinnitus. He is an expert on the condition and a well-known advocate for those with tinnitus.

Signs Your Loved One Has Hearing Loss

(Sharon Waldron/Unsplash)

If you break a leg, you get a cast. If you cut yourself, you get stitches. So, why do some people get embarrassed when they lose their hearing? Is it because hearing loss makes us feel old or lacking in some way? Or do we worry about what others will think if we have hearing aids? It’s not logical, but we tend to hide our vulnerabilities, even from the people we love.

When it comes to hearing loss, early discovery can often lead to a better outcome. Addressing an underlying medical condition or getting hearing aids to reduce ambient noise and amplify the sounds you want to hear can significantly improve one’s quality of life.

How can you know if your loved one has hearing loss? Some common signs can alert you. Let’s take a look at some of the common signs.

1. Their Responses Are Off

Consciously or unconsciously, we all try to fake it till we make it. If you’re not quite getting every word, you might piece the conversation together using words you did hear and the context of the conversation. Sometimes, you’ll get it right. Sometimes, you speak at the wrong time, answer questions they didn’t ask, answer questions incorrectly, or fail to answer entirely.

Sure, your loved one could be distracted, but a pattern of badly timed responses to the conversation is a sign your loved one can’t hear the conversation.

2. They Withdraw in Noisy Environments

It can be incredibly frustrating to go to family gatherings but be unable to participate in the conversation while kids play in the background. The background noise can make individual words sound like they’re coming from underwater. Your loved one may see lips moving, and sometimes be able to read the lips and figure it out, but it’s mentally exhausting as they try not to reveal they’re in the dark.

If your loved one starts withdrawing in crowded or noisy environments, this may be a sign of hearing loss.

3. They Lean Toward Their Good Side

It’s common to lean in on a conversation if you’re interested, to avoid someone walking behind you, to share something in confidence, or to feel close to someone. However, consistently leaning in during conversations is a possible warning sign, especially if your loved one is leaning toward a specific ear regularly. They might be trying to direct sound to the ear that hears best.

You’ll most likely see this in crowds or when there is background noise, and it could indicate one ear has more difficulty than the other.

4. They Have Trouble With Balance

Our ears help us maintain our balance like an internal gyroscope. People who get earaches can experience dizziness or vertigo, where the floor feels like it’s moving. Other symptoms can include nausea and vomiting. If you see a loved one struggling with these symptoms, it’s time to go to the doctor to see if there is an underlying cause like hearing loss.

5. They Listen to the TV Too Loud

Sometimes, you want a movie experience with great sound. But if your loved one regularly listens to the TV or music so loudly other family members complain, they may be experiencing some hearing loss. This process may be gradual. They may adjust their listening volumes without realizing it until a guest with normal hearing mentions it.

A good way to check if the volume needs to be at that level is to turn the sound down for a few minutes to let your loved one’s ears adjust. Then, gradually increase the volume until they can understand the dialogue. If one of you can hear dialogue sooner, the other should have their hearing tested.

6. They Avoid Social Gatherings

There’s nothing lonelier than being the only one in a crowd. It gets uncomfortable if everyone around you is talking, laughing, and playing, and you can’t understand any of it. Tinnitus caused by stress may also add to the problem, making symptoms worse. Your loved one may start to avoid social situations, especially when there will be crowds.

If a formerly social person withdraws and becomes a hermit, their hearing may be to blame.

7. They Have Difficulty at School or Work

It can be especially difficult to pinpoint the cause of a child’s difficulty in school. They often think what they’re experiencing is normal or don’t know how to articulate what’s wrong. Are they getting enough play time? Are they unusually distracted? Is it a learning disability, hearing problems, or vision problems? A change in behavior or grades is always worth a second look.

Final Thoughts

If hearing loss is a new development, then see a doctor. It could be a symptom of a more challenging condition, nutritional deficiency, or an infection. If you’ve been tested and are managing your condition but still struggle with other symptoms like tinnitus, try herbal supplements, like Ginkgo Biloba for tinnitus relief. For many people it is helpful in overcoming their symptoms and leading a more fulfilling life.