It’s not like you just wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. You may not detect the problem immediately even though some symptoms show up earlier.
Early hearing loss has progressive and subtle symptoms. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. However, if you don’t know what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. Consider these eight barely noticeable indicators that you may have hearing loss.
1. Ringing in The Ears
This is one that people have a tendency to ignore if it doesn’t get too distracting and it’s actually not very subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a typical indication of hearing loss.
Triggers are a considerable factor in tinnitus so it can be intermittent, too. For example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is a sign that something else is going on with your body so it should never be ignored. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s easy to make excuses for phone problems like:
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- My phone is old.
Think about why you dread using our phone. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the issue.
3. It Seems Like Everybody Mumbles Now
It used to be just the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. Could it really be true that all of a sudden everyone in your life has poor enunciation.
The most likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. Mumbling or dropped off consonants like “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to realize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Very often, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are having difficulties hearing. If someone says something about it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Perhaps you can hear the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife joins the conversation, everything gets messed up. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same issue. Even when you are in normal situations, something as simple as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those sounds are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes understanding what people say a big challenge. Something as simple as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people conversing around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Feel More Tired Than Usual
It’s can be exhausting struggling to comprehend what people are saying. Your brain has to work extra hard to process what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than usual. Your other senses may also experience changes. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to comprehend words? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back okay.
8. That Darn TV
It is easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep cranking up the volume, but if this is going on all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing test. It can be difficult to hear people talking on TV shows when you suffer from hearing loss. There is the background music confusing things, for example. And don’t even mention the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. Your hearing is probably beginning to falter if you have to keep turning the volume up.
The good news is all you need to do to know for sure is a professional hearing exam. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.