“Normal” Hearing, Yet Fighting to Follow Conversations

female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace recently embraced the trend of open-office floor plans, encouraging cooperation and teamwork. However, you find yourself struggling in this new setup. 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.

The inability to follow along with conversations in noisy settings often acts as an early indicator of hearing loss, in spite of conventional hearing exams producing normal outcomes. You still may have trouble discerning conversations even with “Normal” hearing.

The complexity of speech perception

Speech comprehension is a complex cognitive process that demands considerable brainpower. Distinguishing speech from background noise and focusing on specific voices amongst a cacophony of sounds demands optimal hearing capabilities.

As hearing begins to decline, the brain encounters difficulties in separating and processing speech signals amongst competing noises. Because of this, it becomes mentally fatiguing to be in loud settings like restaurants and busy offices.

Recognizing hearing loss when it’s in its early stages

Early signs of hearing loss manifest in various ways:

  • When in noisy settings, conversations are difficult to make out.
  • Social isolation.
  • Increased mental exhaustion as a result of heightened concentration required for listening.

Hearing loss tests

Detecting such challenges can be tricky, especially when conventional diagnostics suggest normal hearing. Here are a couple of tests being developed by scientists to diagnose hearing loss in its early phases:

  • Monitoring Electrical Signals: The electrical signal sent from your ears to your brain is monitored by an EEG in this test. If these signals change in a specific way while you’re in a crowded or loud environment, that could be a strong indication of some issues with your hearing.
  • The Eye Test: For this test, you put on a special set of glasses. The movement and dilation of your pupils can be tracked with these glasses. If your pupils behave in a particular way, it implies that you’re concentrating a little harder than usual. But it could be an indication that you’re straining to hear if this happens in a loud setting.

These tests, in conjunction with personal observations, aim to identify hearing problems at their nascent phases, aiding early intervention.

The benefits of early detection

There are two important advantages to early detection.

  • Addressing hearing loss quickly prevents mental decline related to neglected hearing impairments.
  • It alleviates frustration by providing clarity about the challenges of being in settings like open office plans.

Think about finding help if you’re having difficulty understanding speech even with “normal” hearing.

Overall cognitive function and auditory health will be improved by early detection. Call us 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.