Over 25 million American adults have some level of hearing loss. Because, in most cases, changes in hearing happen slowly, you might not even notice at the beginning. Your first clue could be more frequent reaching for the television remote to increase the volume or asking people to repeat themselves more often. Or perhaps friends and family members increasingly point out their perceptions.

But if you suspect you have a hearing issue, what’s your next step? If your hearing loss is unrelated to another medical condition, such as an upper respiratory infection, then your best move in the Reston, Virginia area is a call to Hearing & Balance Services of Reston. We specialize in hearing tests. They can detect and measure hearing loss and recommend potential solutions.

Fear and denial

It’s natural, when you suspect you have hearing loss, to act slowly. In the early stages of hearing loss, you may not feel as though it has much impact on your life. Or you might be scared to make the admission that you’re deteriorating.

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, there’s a seven-year gap between first suspicions and seeking treatment. Unfortunately, hearing is sometimes like other medical conditions — the sooner you seek treatment, the better the chance you have to preserve your health.

Hearing loss risk factors

Consider the common risk factors for hearing loss. For instance, if you work in a loud factory environment, and you’re sometimes guilty of skipping ear protection, you could be suffering from noise-induced hearing loss. Knowing the risk factors that you face may help you accept that you have hearing loss. These factors include:

  • Exposure to noise: whether a factory, rock concert, or sudden, loud noise like an explosion or gunshot
  • Age: often related to noise exposure, the mechanisms of the ear often deteriorate with time
  • Medications: some drugs may cause hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as side effects
  • Illness: hearing loss accompanies conditions like Meniere’s disease and meningitis
  • Genetics: when your parents or grandparents suffer hearing loss, you’re more likely to develop the condition too

Sudden hearing loss occurring within one to three days and usually affecting only one ear is an emergency medical condition. Though it’s rare, seek immediate care if this happens to you.

Hearing test and ear examination

Without a hearing test, you can’t know for sure if you have hearing loss. A brief exam covers your medical and hearing history, as well as reviews medications and supplements you’re taking. It also reveals minor problems such as earwax plugs.

Depending on the results of these reviews and your description of symptoms, you’ll receive one or more of several tests. Over the remainder of your 30- to 40-minute appointment, you’ll have tests with tones and words that determine how much hearing loss you have, if any. Recommendations may include hearing aids or other assistive devices.

However, the process starts with you. There’s no need for embarrassment about hearing loss. Call Hearing & Balance Services of Reston to book an appointment today.