female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace has chosen to encourage teamwork and cooperation by opening up the office floor plan. However, you find yourself having difficulties in this new configuration. It’s because the increased noise is making it hard to follow along with conversation and not because you miss the privacy of cubical walls.

Even if established hearing tests indicate perfectly normal hearing, the inability to hear conversations in noisy settings is often an early sign of hearing loss. You still may have trouble discerning conversations even with “Normal” hearing.

The complexity of speech perception

Considerable brain power is needed to tackle the complex task of speech comprehension. Optimal hearing capabilities are needed to distinguish voices in loud environments.

It becomes increasingly challenging for the brain to isolate speech in noisy settings as we get older. As a result, settings like busy offices or crowded restaurants become mentally fatiguing.

Identifying hearing loss when it’s in its early stages

Here are a few ways that early hearing loss can manifest:

  • Distraction and reduced engagement in social interactions.
  • When in loud settings, conversations are difficult to make out.
  • The brain has to work overtime to comprehend speech causing increased mental fatigue.

Hearing loss assessments

It can be particularly difficult to identify these types of challenges when standard hearing diagnostics appear to show normal hearing. However, researchers are looking at innovative tests to identify early signs of hearing loss:

  • The Eye Test: For this test, you put on a special set of glasses. These glasses can keep track of the movement and dilation of your pupils. If you’re concentrating a bit harder than usual your pupils will react in a specific way. So if this tends to happen in crowded or loud areas, it could be a sign that you’re having to strain to hear.
  • Monitoring Electrical Signals: The electrical signal transmitted from your ears to your brain is monitored by an EEG in this test. If these signals fluctuate in a particular way while you’re in a crowded or loud environment, that could be a strong indication of some problems with your hearing.

Early intervention will be possible if these tests, coupled with personal observation, are able to detect hearing issues in their very early stages.

What are the advantages of early detection?

There are two important advantages to early detection.

  • It provides clarity with regard to difficulties faced in environments like open offices, mitigating potential aggravations.
  • Cognitive decline associated with neglected hearing loss can be prevented with early detection.

If you’re experiencing trouble following conversations in spite of “normal” hearing, think about getting a professional evaluation.

Early detection ensures timely intervention, enhancing overall auditory health and cognitive function. Give us a call today and let us help you with any hearing loss you may have.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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