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Baylor College of Medicine News

Audiology awareness part of treating hearing loss

Hearing loss can be so gradual that those with the impairment might not even notice the decline. In fact, many times it is the person’s loved ones who first notice the tell-tale signs of hearing loss, according to an audiologist at Baylor College of Medicine.

"Sometimes the first sign is a breakdown in communication," said Dr. Adriana Rodriguez-Miciak, AuD, CCC-A, audiologist in the department of otolaryngology at BCM. "Relatives or friends might become frustrated and think they are being ignored when someone doesn’t respond because they can’t clearly hear them or when they keep asking them to repeat a question."

Sometimes people either don’t realize they are having a hard time hearing or may project blame onto others, Rodriguez-Miciak said.

Signs of hearing loss

Some signs to watch out for:

-The television sounds muffled

-People have commented on the loud volume of your radio or television

-It seems like people are mumbling or not speaking clearly

-You have a hard time following conversations

Address the issue

"It might be difficult for someone to admit they have a hearing problem, but once it is addressed and treated properly they will find that it can really improve their daily life," said Rodriguez-Miciak.

Addressing the issue causing the hearing loss is the first step. It could be related to age or exposure to loud noises. Some medications or treatment for other illnesses like chemotherapy can cause hearing loss as well.

Rodriguez-Miciak suggests wearing ear plugs if you know you will be in a loud environment like at a concert. She also said to be mindful that even loud noises like a lawn mower can damage hearing over time.

"In most cases, hearing cannot be repaired but there are ways to improve the ability to hear, such as wearing hearing aids," Rodriguez-Miciak said. "Being aware of hearing loss and going to see a physician or audiologist who can test and diagnose hearing loss is the key to finding a solution or treatment to prevent further disruption of relationships and quality of life."