It may seem like it’d be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be gradual, so how can someone know if they have it? There is no sharp pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t pass out or make unnecessary trips to the bathroom when it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Even so, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the impact any change might be having in your life. Take the time to consider the ways you’re able to pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you love.
A Change in Conversation
The effect on socializing offers some of the most telling signs. As an example, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you aren’t comprehending words easily. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they’re very likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way people respond to having a chat with you.
When speaking to a group of two or more people, you may have difficulty following along. You are missing pieces of what everyone says, so you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you hide from group discussions or stand there not understanding what is stated, because it’s just too confusing when you do.
The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out
If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it is time for a hearing exam. This is a common symptom of hearing loss since you’re not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what people are saying for 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 this dying box because of a busy area, but when it occurs all the time, it’s most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you need to wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it was at one time.
You End up Seeing Their Mouth
Lip reading is a coping mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes onto the person’s lips to fix the issue. It is likely that you do not even understand you do it before someone points it out or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.
Then There is the Buzzing
The constant clicking or buzzing or the sound of wind in your ears — medically this is called tinnitus, and it’s a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For some folks, they are just bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got it, then you surely have hearing loss that you will need to address.
Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical problems that can contribute to the problem like hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.
If you do come to that conclusion, see your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the worst health issue you could have, but for most, it will imply it is time to think about hearing aids.