“Normal” Hearing, Yet Fighting to Follow Conversations

female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace has decided to promote teamwork and collaboration by opening up the office floor plan. However, you find yourself struggling in this new setup. It’s because the increased noise is making it difficult to follow along with conversation and not because you miss the privacy of cubical walls.

The inability to follow along with conversations in noisy settings often serves as an early indicator of hearing loss, despite conventional hearing exams yielding normal outcomes. This indicates that having “normal” hearing doesn’t guarantee the capacity to comprehend speech effectively.

The complexity of speech perception

Considerable brain power is needed to undertake the complex task of speech comprehension. Distinguishing speech from background noise and focusing on particular voices amidst a cacophony of sounds demands optimal hearing capabilities.

It becomes increasingly demanding for the brain to isolate speech in loud settings as we get older. Because of this, it becomes mentally fatiguing to be in noisy settings like restaurants and bustling offices.

Recognizing hearing loss when it’s in its early stages

Here are a number of ways that early hearing loss can manifest:

  • Distraction and reduced engagement in social interactions.
  • Increased mental exhaustion as a result of heightened concentration needed for listening.
  • When in loud settings, conversations are difficult to understand.

Testing for hearing loss

It can be especially hard to detect these kinds of difficulties when traditional hearing diagnostics appear to reveal normal hearing. However, scientists are looking at innovative tests to identify early stages of hearing loss:

  • The Eye Test: A special set of glasses is used in this test. The movement and dilation of your pupils can be monitored with these glasses. If you’re concentrating a bit harder than usual your pupils will behave in a particular 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 change in a particular way while you’re in a crowded or loud environment, that could be a strong indication of some issues with your hearing.

These tests, coupled with personal observations, aim to identify hearing issues at their emergent stages, aiding early intervention.

What are the benefits of early detection?

Discovering even minor hearing loss early offers two significant advantages.

  • Mental decline associated with neglected hearing loss can be avoided with early detection.
  • It provides clarity regarding challenges faced in environments like open offices, alleviating potential frustrations.

If you’re experiencing trouble following conversations despite “normal” hearing, consider finding a professional assessment.

Overall mental function and auditory health will be improved by early diagnosis. Schedule a hearing test today and look into solutions right for you.

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.