You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss can be gradual, so how can one know if they have it? There is no sharp pain to serve as a warning sign. You do not collapse or make unnecessary trips to the toilet when it happens, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Even so, there are indications if you know to look for them. It’s a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Consider some ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you care about.
Conversations Become Difficult
The impact on socialization offers a number of the most telling signals. As an example, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you aren’t comprehending words easily. Asking the people that you speak to tell you again what they said is something they’re very likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks respond to having a chat with you.
When speaking to a group of two or more individuals, you might have trouble following along. You are missing parts of what everyone says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you hide from group conversations or stand there not understanding what is said, since it’s just too confusing once you do.
Background Sounds Drown Everything Else Out
If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time for a hearing test. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss since you’re no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background noise.
The TV Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop
It’s easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on this tired box because of a noisy room, but when it happens all the time, it is probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why this really is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t as good as it had been once.
You End up Seeing Their Lips
Lip reading is a coping skill for missing words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will probably be faulty. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the individual’s lips to repair the issue. Chances are you don’t even know you do it before somebody points it out or unexpectedly looks uncomfortable when speaking to you.
Tinnitus is Causing Trouble
The constant clicking or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — medically this is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of a significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some folks, they are just annoying, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got it, then you certainly have hearing loss you need to handle.
Hearing problems are not always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical issues that can give rise to this problem like high blood pressure or medication you take that can harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
It is like putting pieces of a puzzle together. If you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for most, it does mean it’s time to think about hearing aids.