The Subtle Signs of Hearing Loss

Triangular sign with an exclamation point in front of blue background

If you suffer from hearing loss, you might imagine it would be obvious, right?

Well, that’s precisely the problem; many people think it would. Unfortunately, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be far too subtle to detect. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the beginning of symptoms to seek out help.

Picture hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s challenging to recognize the daily changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you choose to act.

Unfortunately, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be partially restored, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recover.

So how can you discover the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a hearing test.

1. Trouble hearing specific sounds

Oftentimes people believe that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you presume you can hear all sounds normally.

Do not get trapped into this manner of reasoning. The truth is that hearing loss primarily affects higher-frequency sounds. You may observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, because of the higher pitch.

This may possibly lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when the fact is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Depending on context to understand

Someone is speaking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for supplementary information to fill in the blanks.

Speech is comprised of an array of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants convey the most meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is just like reading a sentence with missing letters. Normally, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself replying inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in noisy settings

With mild hearing loss, you can usually understand what others are saying, albeit with lots of effort. As soon as background noise is introduced, on the other hand, the task usually becomes overwhelming.

You might find that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like restaurants or parties. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it extremely difficult to concentrate on any one source of sound.

4. Mental Fatigue

Finally, you may notice that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the constant fight to hear, combined with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can bring about severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is progressive and ends up being more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly encourage arranging a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.

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.