It may seem like it’d be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does one know if they have it? There’s no stinging pain to serve as a danger sign. You do not lose consciousness or make extra trips to the toilet when it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
Even so, there are indicators should you know what to look for. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change could be having in your life. Consider the ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
A Change in Speech
The effect on socialization provides a number of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first word from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people that you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are very likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to how people react to having discussions with you.
When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing pieces of what everyone says, so you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everyone speaking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you hide from group conversations or stand there not understanding what is stated, since it is just too confusing once you do.
Background Noise is All You Hear
If all you hear these days is background sound, then it is time to get a hearing exam. This is a common symptom of hearing loss since you’re not able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. 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 Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop
It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on this tired set because of a busy area, but if it happens all the time, it is most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t as good as it was at one time.
You End up Watching Their Mouth
Lip reading is a compensation technique for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words that contain certain letters will probably be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your attention to the individual’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you won’t even understand you do it until someone tells you or suddenly looks uncomfortable when speaking with you.
Then There is the Clicking
You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or, the sound of a breeze in your ears — medically this is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but auditory hallucinations that only you hear. For many people, they are just bothersome, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got that, then you certainly have hearing loss that you need to address.
Hearing problems are not always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that can give rise to this problem like hypertension or medication you take that could harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.
When you do come to this decision, see your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not a catastrophe, but for most, it will imply it is time to think about hearing aids.