It’s not as if you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss comes gradually over time for most people, particularly when it comes 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. You may not realize the problem immediately even though some symptoms show up earlier.
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. Consider these eight barely noticeable signs that you might have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
This is one that people have a tendency to ignore if it doesn’t become too disruptive and it’s really not very subtle. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common sign of hearing loss.
The ringing can be periodic and only act up when triggered. As an example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is going on with your body so it should never be neglected. It may be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for certain until you consult your doctor, though.
2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful
It’s not hard to make excuses for phone problems like:
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- My phone is out dated.
If you hate using the phone think about the reasons why. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t comprehend what is being said, let a friend test the phone for you. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing issue.
3. It Seems Like Everybody Mumbles Now
Recently, it’s not only your kids, but your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have started to mumble to you. Could it really be true that suddenly everyone in your life 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.
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start to recognize that you can’t hear conversations as well anymore. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are struggling to hear. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can hear the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife starts talking, everything gets muddled up. 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 might have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. 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 difficult. Those sounds are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be
Worse yet are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say that much harder. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start talking around you or the AC pops on.
7. You Feel More Tired Than Usual
It’s can be fatiguing struggling to comprehend what people are saying. Your brain has to work overtime to process what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than normal. You may even observe changes in your other senses. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to understand words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? If your last eye exam was normal, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.
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 going on all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing test. It can be tough to follow people talking on TV shows when you have hearing loss. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound confusing. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. Your hearing is probably starting to fail if you have to keep turning up the volume.
A professional hearing exam will tell you for certain and that’s the good news. If it turns out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids can get things back to normal.