There are many different causes of hearing loss in children and adults. Loud noise can be very damaging to hearing. Both the level of noise and the length of time you listen to the noise can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise levels are measured in decibels. The higher the decibel level, the louder the noise. Sounds that are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss.
You can use this self-administered test as an initial screen for yourself or your child to find out if an audiologic (hearing) evaluation is needed.
If you observe any of the following behaviors or symptoms in your child, you should consider having your child’s hearing evaluated further by a certified audiologist:
- Your child is inconsistently responding to sound.
- Language and speech development is delayed.
- Speech is unclear.
- Volume is turned up high on electronic equipment (radio, TV, CD player, etc.).
- Your child does not follow directions.
- Your child often says, “Huh?”
- Your child does not respond when called.
If you answer yes to more than two of the following questions, you should have your hearing evaluated further by a certified audiologist:
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you hear better through one ear than the other when you are on the telephone?
- Do you have trouble following the conversation with two or more people talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
- Do you have trouble hearing in restaurants?
- Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do family members or coworkers remark about your missing what has been said?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
If you have concerns about hearing loss, talk with your physician or see a certified audiologist.
Nancy B. Swigert, a speech-language pathologist, is director of Speech-Language Pathology and Respiratory Care at Baptist Health Lexington.