You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss can be slow, so how does one know they have it? There is no sharp pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t collapse or make a few more trips to the restroom once it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or heart disease.
Nevertheless, there are indicators should you know what to look for. It’s a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change might be having in your life. Take the time to consider the ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you care about.
Conversations are Harder
The effect on socializing offers some of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t understanding words easily. Questioning people that you talk to repeat what they said is something they’re likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how people react to having a chat with you.
When talking in a group of two or more individuals, you may have trouble following along. You are missing bits of what everybody says, so you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you limit group conversations or stand there not understanding what is stated, because it’s just too confusing when you do.
The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over
If all you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time to get a hearing exam. This is a common sign of hearing loss since you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point where you can’t hear what people are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Goes Up and Upward
It’s easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying box because of a busy area, but when it occurs all the time, it’s most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts telling you that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing isn’t like it was at one time.
You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips
Reading lips is a coping skill for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be faulty. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the issue. It is likely that you won’t even understand you do it before somebody tells you or suddenly looks uncomfortable when talking with you.
There’s a Buzz
You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that only you hear. For some people, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got it, then you certainly have hearing loss you need to address.
Hearing problems are not always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that can give rise to this problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that can damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.
When you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it does mean it is time to think about hearing aids.