Reviewed by Michal Luntz, M.D. on January 30th 2023
"Do I have hearing loss?" is a common question raised by individuals who have been politely advised by their partner, family, or friends, that they should consider checking their hearing.
The best and most accurate way to determine if you have hearing loss is through a formal hearing test known as audiometry. However, due to not recognizing their hearing loss, cost concerns, and a perceived priority of other daily tasks and challenges, many people hesitate to pursue a test.
There are so many daily challenges and responsibilities we face, from relationship conflicts to keeping up with dental appointments to caring for a sick parent to traveling for work or vacation to making important financial decisions to attending to our children to meeting deadlines to fixing household issues, and more. It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed. However, it's also crucial to remember that for those with hearing loss, these tasks can be even more challenging and it often requires additional effort to communicate about and handle them effectively.
If you're not sure about your hearing, there are some simple steps you can take to get a general idea of your hearing health. While these self-assessment options are not a substitute for a professional hearing test, they can help you decide whether you might need to see a specialist.
One option is to try an online hearing test. These tests are not as accurate as a professional hearing test, but they can give you an idea of whether you may have a hearing problem. Another option is to complete a brief questionnaire about your daily hearing experiences. If you answer "yes" to many of the following questions, it's a sign that you might have hearing loss, and it's a good idea to see a specialist for a more thorough evaluation.
Do you feel you have difficulties understanding what others are saying?
Do you struggle to understand the words of songs on TV/smartphone apps?
Do you find it harder to converse in a restaurant setting compared to those you're communicating with?
To some extent, do you rely on lip reading or speech reading?
Do those around you accuse you of dominating conversations, interrupting too frequently, and trying to finish or guess their sentences?
Do you feel like you're missing information that others in the same social interaction have picked up?
Do you have trouble hearing whispers?
Do you feel that you are inferior to others in your ability to argue and choose to give up because it is easier to give up than to insist on your position?
Do you find the TV volume not loud enough?
Do you find it difficult to converse with background noise, such as a TV?
Do you feel less "sharp" than you used to be?
Do you often miss the initial part of what someone said when you are in a group setting, such as a family dinner?
If you have concerns about your hearing, it's a good idea to be evaluated by a professional. Read more about the importance of diagnosing and addressing hearing loss, and don't hesitate to speak with an audiologist to learn more about your options and take the first step towards better hearing.