“Normal” Hearing, Yet Struggling to Follow Conversations

female professional struggling with conversation in the office.

Your workplace recently embraced the trend of open-office floor plans, encouraging collaboration and teamwork. However, you find yourself having difficulties in this new configuration. Not because you miss the privacy of cubicle walls, but because the increased noise makes it hard to follow conversations.

The inability to follow along with conversations in noisy settings frequently serves as an early indicator of hearing loss, despite 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 mental task that involves considerable brainpower. Distinguishing speech from background noise and focusing on specific voices amongst a cacophony of sounds requires optimal hearing capabilities.

As hearing begins to go, the brain encounters difficulties in isolating and processing speech signals amongst competing sounds. As a result, it becomes mentally exhausting to be in noisy environments like restaurants and bustling offices.

Recognizing hearing loss when it’s in its early phases

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

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

Hearing loss examinations

It can be particularly hard to identify these types of challenges when traditional hearing diagnostics appear to reveal normal hearing. However, scientists are looking at innovative tests to identify early signs of hearing loss:

  • The Eye Test: For this test, you wear a special pair 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 react in a specific way. So if this tends to happen in crowded or loud areas, it could be an indication that you’re having to strain to hear.
  • Monitoring Electrical Signals: In this test, a device tracks the electrical EEG signals sent by your ears to your brain. If these signals fluctuate in a certain way while you’re in a crowded or loud setting, that could be a firm indication of some problems with your hearing.

These tests, in conjunction with personal observations, attempt to identify hearing issues at their nascent stages, aiding early intervention.

What are the advantages of early detection?

There are two important advantages to early detection.

  • Dealing with hearing loss promptly prevents mental decline associated with untreated hearing impairments.
  • It reduces aggravation by supplying clarity about the challenges of being in places like open office plans.

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

Overall mental function and auditory health will be improved by early detection. Contact us today and let us help you with any hearing loss you might 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.