“Normal” Hearing, Yet Fighting to Follow Conversations

female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace has decided to encourage teamwork and collaboration by opening up the office floor plan. However, you find yourself struggling in this new setup. Not because you miss the privacy of cubicle walls, but because the elevated noise makes it hard to follow conversations.

Even if standard hearing tests indicate completely 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

Speech comprehension is a complex cognitive process that requires considerable brainpower. Optimal hearing abilities are required to differentiate voices in loud environments.

It becomes increasingly challenging for the brain to isolate speech in loud settings as we get older. As a result, it becomes mentally fatiguing to be in loud environments like restaurants and busy offices.

Identifying hearing loss when it’s in its early stages

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

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

Testing for hearing loss

It can be particularly hard to identify these types of challenges when standard hearing diagnostics seem to reveal normal hearing. Here are some tests being formulated by researchers to diagnose hearing loss in its early phases:

  • The Eye Test: A special pair of glasses is used in this test. These glasses can track the movement and dilation of your pupils. If your pupils behave in a specific way, it suggests that you’re concentrating a little harder than normal. So if this tends to occur in crowded or loud areas, it could be an indication 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 certain 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, combined with personal observation, are able to detect hearing problems in their very early stages.

The Advantages of early detection

There are two significant benefits to early detection.

  • Cognitive decline related to untreated hearing loss can be avoided with early detection.
  • It provides clarity regarding difficulties faced in environments like open offices, mitigating potential frustrations.

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

Early diagnosis 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.

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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