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Hearing Difficulties Can Start as Early as 40

Our ability to discern speech in noisy situations begins to decline in our 40s and 50s. The changes are subtle, but you may start to notice trouble understanding friends and family when out to dinner. You may still be able to hear well at home or on the phone, but having conversations where there is background music or noisy talking can be a struggle.

Our auditory processing system is complex, and it loses functionality as we age. Those losses can negatively impact our abilities to fill in missing information in a conversation. Lack of sleep can also affect how well you understand others when surrounded by noise. 

Here are some tactics that may help make listening easier:

  • Reduce noise sources like radio or television. Turn them off if possible.
  • Position yourself diagonally across from the speaker (your ear will be closer to them) instead of facing them directly.
  • Ask your conversational partner to speak loudly and clearly.
  • Try to move away from other conversations.
  • Consider quieter locations for dining out and entertainment.
  • Have your hearing checked by an audiologist and treat the problem if necessary.

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Learn more about hearing and balance services at St. Luke's