It’s not as if you simply wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss gradually over time, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Many of them are over the age of 75 before they notice a change. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you may not realize there is an issue immediately.
The early symptoms of gradual hearing loss are subtle. 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. You might have hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable indicators.
1. Ringing in The Ears
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s distracting. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
Triggers are a significant factor with tinnitus so it can be intermittent, too. For example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is happening with your body so it should never be neglected. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be induced by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. If you want to know for certain, you will need to consult your doctor.
2. You Hate Talking on The Phone
Here are some common excuses for phone problems:
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
- My phone is out dated.
If you hate talking on the phone consider the reasons why. Get someone you know to test the phone for you if the volume is up and you still don’t hear it. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing problem.
3. It Seems Like Everyone Mumbles Now
It used to be only the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to muttering when they speak to you. It’s hard to imagine that everyone in your life suddenly 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 signs that your hearing is changing.
You might not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are having difficulties hearing. If someone says something about it, pay attention.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Perhaps when you are having a conversation with the neighbor everything sounds fine but when his wife joins in you can’t make out a word. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or damage to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a common symptom.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild might present the same problem. 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 complicated. Those sounds are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun
Worse yet are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say a big challenge. Something as simple as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people talking around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Never Used to Feel This Tired
It’s can be fatiguing struggling to understand what people are saying. You are more fatigued than normal because your brain is working harder to process what it hears. You might even notice changes in your other senses. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to understand words? If your last eye exam was normal, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.
8. You Can’t Hear The TV
Rather than blaming the service provider when you need to keep cranking the TV up, think about getting a hearing exam. When you have hearing loss it can be difficult to hear dialog. For instance, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound confusing. What about the other sounds in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing may be faltering.
The good news is all it takes to know for certain is a professional hearing test. If it turns out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids can get things back to normal.