It’s not like you simply wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. Some signs show up sooner, though, and you may not realize there is a problem right away.
Early hearing loss has progressive and subtle signs. 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’re not sure what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. Consider these eight barely noticeable indicators that you might have hearing loss.
1. Ringing in The Ears
Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but people tend to ignore it unless it’s disruptive. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a common sign of hearing loss.
The ringing can be periodic and only act up when triggered. For instance, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is going on with your body so it should never be ignored. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you consult your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s easy to make excuses for phone issues like:
- I have an old phone.
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
Think about why you dread using our phone. Get someone you know to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still can’t hear it. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing issue.
3. These Days it Seems As if Everyone Mumbles
Recently, it’s not only the kids, but also your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have begun to mumble to you. It’s hard to imagine that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
The more likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the first indications that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” drop off.
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to recognize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Very often, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are struggling to hear. If someone comments on it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Perhaps when you are having a chat with your neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife joins in you can’t make out a word. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.
Her voice is higher pitched, and that’s why it isn’t as clear. You may have the same issue with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in common situations, something as simple as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those sounds are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, it’s much more difficult to comprehend what people are saying when it’s noisy. Something as simple as the AC popping on during dinner or the sound of people conversing around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
Battling to comprehend words is exhausting. You are more fatigued than usual because your brain is working harder to manage 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? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back okay.
8. That Dang TV
Rather than accusing the service provider when you need to keep turning the TV up, consider getting a hearing exam. When you have hearing loss it can be hard to follow dialog. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. What about the other sounds in the room such as the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing could be faltering.
The good news is all you need to do to know for certain is a professional hearing test. If you find out your hearing is declining, hearing aids will get things back to normal.