“Normal” Hearing, Yet Fighting to Follow Conversations

female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace recently adopted the trend of open-office floor plans, promoting collaboration and teamwork. But this new arrangement has become difficult for you. Not because you miss the privacy of cubicle walls, but because the elevated noise makes it hard to follow conversations.

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

Significant brain power is required to undertake the complex task of speech comprehension. Differentiating speech from background noise and focusing on specific voices amidst a cacophony of sounds demands optimal hearing capabilities.

As hearing begins to decline, the brain faces challenges in isolating and processing speech signals amidst competing sounds. Because of this, it becomes mentally fatiguing to be in noisy environments like restaurants and busy offices.

How to identify the early signs of hearing loss

Early indications of hearing loss manifest in a variety of ways:

  • When in noisy settings, conversations are hard to make out.
  • Social isolation.
  • The brain needs to work extra hard to comprehend speech leading to increased mental exhaustion.

Hearing loss examinations

It can be particularly difficult to detect these kinds of challenges when traditional hearing diagnostics seem to show normal hearing. Here are a couple of tests being developed by researchers to identify hearing loss in its early phases:

  • Monitoring Electrical Signals: In this test, a device tracks the electrical EEG signals sent by your ears to your brain. If these signals change in a specific way while you’re in a crowded or noisy environment, that could be a strong indication of some problems with your hearing.
  • The Eye Test: For this diagnostics, you put on a special set of glasses. The movement and dilation of your pupils can be tracked with these glasses. If you’re concentrating a little harder than usual your pupils will behave in a particular way. But it may be an indication that you’re straining to hear if this occurs in a noisy setting.

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

What are the benefits of early detection?

There are two important benefits to early detection.

  • It reduces frustration by supplying clarity about the difficulties of being in places like open office plans.
  • Addressing hearing loss quickly prevents mental decline associated with neglected hearing impairments.

If you’re experiencing difficulty following conversations in spite of “normal” hearing, consider seeking a professional assessment.

Early diagnosis assures 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.

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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