We are all a little guilty of taking our senses for granted, and it’s fair to say that our hearing is one of the least appreciated of all. After all, how many of us expose ourselves to loud music all the time, or work in loud environments without the necessary protection?

Healthy hearing is vital to allow most people to carry out regular daily activities, from crossing the road to enjoying social interaction – and if you lose it, it can result in years of rehabilitation and, effectively, learning to live in a silent world.

The big question is, what are the signs that you might be experiencing problems and need to see an audiologist? Unfortunately, most people that lose their hearing do so over time – at a barely noticeable level. But given the importance of hearing to a healthy lifestyle, perhaps it’s time to ensure you are one step ahead? Let’s take a look at some of the key signs that could be telling you to check out your hearing with an audiologist.

Sudden hearing loss

As we discussed in the intro, hearing loss usually occurs over a long period of time. But it isn’t always so. If you have been exposed to a sudden loud noise in close proximity or even had an accident that has affected your hearing in any way, you need to see a specialist. Illness, reactions to pharmaceuticals, and even changes to the air pressure should all be looked at by a professional eye, too. Ears are very delicate structures, and any trauma that occurs to them needs to be checked and assessed as quickly as possible.

Gradual hearing loss

Have you noticed you are asking more people to speak up or repeat themselves than is normal? Struggling to hear people properly on the telephone? Finding it difficult to understand people with high-pitched voices – women and small children, for example? If so, it might be a sign that you are slowly losing your hearing over time. Age-related hearing loss is incredibly common – one in three people over 65 will get it. And to determine whether or not you are actually losing your hearing a little each year, it’s vital that you see an audiologist to run some tests.

Ear trouble

Most ear infections, blockages or pains will go away over time. But if they keep coming back – or you suffer from issues like tinnitus or vertigo – it might be a sign that you need to see a specialist. Take impacted earwax as an example. Given the ear is so delicate, it’s almost impossible to clear up a hard build-up of earwax near the eardrum without professional help. And if you have tinnitus, it will have a severe impact on your life if you let it get worse. It’s the same principal for vertigo – which is basically a balance disorder that originates in the inner ear and could get worse without specialist help from an audiologist.

If you suspect you might need to see an audiologist, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment. An audiologist will be able to suggest strategies and tools – such as hearing aids – to help and improve your overall health and lifestyle.