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10 signs that your loved one may have a hearing loss

Very often, when a person suffers from hearing difficulties, they’re not the first to recognize it. Often, friends, family or colleagues are the first to notice changes in a person’s hearing. We have put together several signs you can look out for to determine if your loved one has difficulty hearing. If you notice these issues, you can help by encouraging them to take action.

You can start with taking them for a free hearing test.




Book a free hearing test


  • woman confused trying to have a conversation with a man
    1. They accuse you of mumbling

    “You’re always mumbling, speak up!” Sound familiar? When your loved one suffers from hearing loss, they may be under the impression that others are mumbling or slurring their speech. This is because hearing loss makes it difficult to hear certain sounds. So rather than hearing complete words and sentences, they may hear more of a mumble - or a muddling of incomplete noises.

    Help them gain clarity

  • 02-they-cant-hear-in-restaurants
    2. They can´t hear in restaurants

    Has eating at restaurants become challenging? Does your loved one need to lean in close to hear or seem detached from the conversation? When your family member or friend has trouble hearing, background noises, such as clanking dishes and conversations at the other side of the table - or the other side of the room - tend to take make it difficult to hold a conversation. The same may be true in other noisy settings, such as parties, cafes, grocery stores or outdoors.

    Don’t let it limit them

  • woman at home drinking coffee
    3. They seem less social

    Has someone close to you gone from being a social butterfly to being more of a homebody? This is more common than you would think. Imagine attending a party when it’s difficult to hold a conversation—or struggling to hear over loud music and competing voices. It wouldn’t be much fun, would it? You may find your loved withdrawing from social events or not taking part in conversations when it becomes hard to hear.

    Social impact of hearing loss

  • man having difficulty hearing on the telephone
    4. They are exhausted

    Does your loved one often seem tired, particularly after long conversations? It could be because they suffer from hearing loss. When your family member or friend has trouble hearing, it takes a greater cognitive effort for them to listen. This can leave them feeling tired. You may notice that they seem particularly exhausted on days where heavy listening is required - such as at conferences or ceremonies - or in settings that are difficult to hear in - like restaurants or cafes.

    Help them regain their energy

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    5. They can't hear on the phone

    Does your loved one complain about not being able to hear you on the phone? It’s probably due to hearing loss. Hearing on the phone - particularly mobile devices - can be a challenge for all of us. Poor reception makes the brain fill in conversation gaps. With normal hearing, this is easy enough. With hearing loss, though, it can be quite a challenge. As a result, voices may come across muffled and nearly impossible to understand.

    How hearing aids help

  • man turning up the volume while watching tv with his wife
    6. You can't watch TV together

    When someone close to you has trouble hearing, watching television or movies together can be unpleasant. You may find that you often need to repeat what the actors have just said, or that your family member or friend turns the volume up too high. Closed captions may already be a must in your home. Enjoying movies together might have been a favorite pastime, but now, perhaps, it feels easier to watch in separate rooms.

    Get your movie nights back

  • 07-they-cant-hear-their-grandchild
    7. They can't hear their grandchild

    Grandchildren are one of life’s greatest gifts. When your loved one’s hearing is not as it should be, though, they may not be able to hear their grandchildren. Children’s voices are often the most difficult to hear because they are high-pitched, and kids are sometimes prone to speaking softly, mumbling or even mispronouncing words. When your loved one lives with hearing difficulties, they risk missing out on conversations with their grandchildren.

    Help preserve the bond

  • 08-their-relationships-are-strained
    8. Their relationships are strained

    When a family member or friend isn’t hearing at their best, it can be frustrating—both for them, for you and for other loved ones. You may feel burdened by the need to constantly repeat yourself or “translate” what others say. You may even feel like you’re being ignored. Your loved one may feel like you and others are mad at them or that they’re constantly being yelled at. This may be a point of tension in your relationship. Are you noticing any tension between you and your loved one? Hearing difficulties may be to blame. 

    Help them reduce tension

  • 09-their-ears-feel-clogged
    9. Their ears feel clogged

    Hearing loss is often compared to the feeling of clogged ears. To sufferers, it may feel like something is preventing them from hearing correctly. If your loved one has been seen by a doctor, and there’s no evidence of a blockage or infection, you may want to consider that it could be due to hearing loss. The same goes for tinnitus, or ringing of the ears. While not itself a form of hearing loss, tinnitus is often a first sign of one. If someone close to you complains of blocked or ringing ears, be sure they get their hearing tested. 

    More on tinnitus

  • 10-theyre-not-themselves
    10. They’re not themselves

    Does your family member or friend seem down, distracted or bored in conversations? Are they experiencing difficulty balancing, or are they falling more? Maybe they’ve stopped socializing and don’t seem as sharp as usual. While it may not seem obvious, all these things are actually linked to untreated hearing loss. All in all, poor hearing can keep your loved one from feeling like themselves. You can encourage them to seek treatment. 

    Help them get back to themselves

The 52 benefits of better hearing

Untreated hearing loss can impact your quality of life.  Learn 52 reasons to do something about it. Take the first step today by booking a free hearing test at a location near you.

Complete the form to download your own copy of 52 Benefits of Better Hearing.

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Should my loved one get their hearing tested?

  • Many people are unaware that they don’t hear as well as they used to. Because hearing loss often gets worse gradually, we tend to compensate, making it difficult to notice we even have an issue.

  • So how do you know if it’s time to get your hearing assessed? We’ve created an online hearing test that can give your loved one a clear indication of how well they’re hearing, using background noise, tone tests and self-evaluation questions.

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    The online test should not replace a hearing test performed by our hearing professionals, but it can help identify if you have trouble and guide you to the appropriate next steps.

The journey to better hearing might be easier than you think

Sources

1. Beck DL, Clark, JL. Audition matters more as cognition declines and cognition matters more as audition declines. Audiology Today. 2009;(3):48-59.
2. Tan, Christine M et al. “Tinnitus and patterns of hearing loss” Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO vol. 14,2 (2013): 275-82.