It’s not like you just wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, loss of hearing comes in degrees, especially when it comes 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 recognize a change. Some signs show up earlier, though, and you may not realize there is a problem right away.
Early hearing loss has progressive and subtle symptoms. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. You can’t identify the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. You may 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 people tend to ignore it unless it’s disruptive. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
The ringing can be intermittent 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 a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be neglected. It might be hearing loss, but it could also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. 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:
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- I have an old phone.
If you dislike using the phone consider the reasons why. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way 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 As if Everybody Mumbles These Days
It used to be just the kids, but recently, the lady on the TV news, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. Could it really be possible that suddenly everyone in your life 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 such as “S” and “T” drop off.
4. What Did You Say?
Only when someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start 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 recognize you are having difficulties hearing. If someone comments on it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can understand the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife starts talking, everything gets muddled up. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or injury to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a common symptom.
Her voice is higher pitched, and that’s why it’s not as clear. You might have the same issue with your grandchild or daughter. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can throw a loop into things. Those tones are high pitched, also.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Once Was
Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say a big challenge. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start conversing around you or the AC pops on.
7. You Never Used to Feel This Tired
It’s can be exhausting struggling to understand what people are saying. You are more tired than normal because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. Your other senses might also undergo changes. 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 examination came back normal.
8. You Can’t Hear The TV
It is easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep turning up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, maybe it’s time for a hearing exam. When you have loss of hearing it can be hard to follow dialog. For instance, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. Your hearing is most likely beginning to fail if you have to keep turning up the volume.
The good news is all you need to do to know for sure is a professional hearing test. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.