“Normal” Hearing, Yet Struggling 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. But this new setup has become a struggle for you. It’s because the elevated noise is making it challenging to follow along with conversation and not because you miss the privacy of cubical walls.

Even if mainstream hearing tests indicate completely fine hearing, the inability to hear conversations in loud environments is often an early sign of hearing loss. This indicates that having “normal” hearing doesn’t guarantee the capacity to comprehend speech effectively.

The complexity of speech perception

Considerable brain power is required to undertake the complex task of speech recognition. Optimal hearing abilities are necessary to distinguish voices in noisy environments.

As hearing begins to decline, the brain encounters challenges in separating and processing speech signals amidst competing noises. As a result, it becomes mentally fatiguing to be in loud settings like restaurants and busy offices.

Identifying hearing loss when it’s in its early stages

Early indications of hearing loss manifest in various ways:

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

Hearing loss tests

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

  • Monitoring Electrical Signals: The electrical signal transmitted from your ears to your brain is monitored by an EEG in this test. It will be a strong sign that you’re having some hearing difficulty if these signals change in a particular way when you’re in a crowded location.
  • The Eye Test: A special pair of glasses is used in this test. The movement and dilation of your pupils can be tracked with these glasses. If you’re concentrating a bit harder than normal your pupils will react in a specific way. So if this tends to occur in crowded or noisy areas, it could be an indication that you’re having to strain to hear.

Early intervention will be possible if these tests, combined with personal observation, are able to identify hearing problems in their very early stages.

The benefits of early detection

There are two important advantages to early detection.

  • Cognitive decline associated with neglected hearing loss can be prevented with early detection.
  • It reduces aggravation by supplying clarity about the challenges of being in settings like open office plans.

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

Early detection ensures timely intervention, enhancing total auditory health and cognitive function. Give us a call 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.