It might seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how can one know they have it? There’s no stinging pain to serve as a warning signal. You don’t collapse or make additional trips to the bathroom once it happens, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
Nevertheless, there are indicators if you know what to look for. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change might be having in your life. Consider some ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
A Shift in Speech
The impact on socialization offers some of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t comprehending words easily. Asking the people you talk to repeat what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way folks react to having conversations with you.
When speaking to a group of two or more individuals, you might have trouble following along. You’re missing parts of what each person says, thus you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you limit group discussions or stand there not listening to what is said, because it’s just too confusing when you do.
Background Noise Gets in the Way
If all you hear these days is background sound, then it’s time for a hearing exam. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you are no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what people are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Volume Goes Up and Upward
It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying set because of a busy room, but when it occurs every day, it is most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else begins complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing isn’t like it had been once.
You Find Yourself Watching Their Lips
Lip reading is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of tough sounds. Words that contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your brain might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you do not even know you do it before someone points it out or unexpectedly looks uncomfortable when talking with you.
Then There’s the Ringing
You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the noise of breeze in your ears — that is called tinnitus, and it’s a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that only you hear. For many folks, they are just annoying, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got that, then you surely have hearing loss that you will need to handle.
Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, also, other medical issues that can contribute to the problem such as high blood pressure or medication you take that could damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
It is really like assembling the pieces of a puzzle. When you do come to that conclusion, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for most, it will imply it’s time to consider hearing aids.