If you suffer from hearing loss, you would assume it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s precisely the problem; many people believe it would. However, while severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be too subtle to detect. That’s why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the beginning of symptoms to seek out help.
Picture hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to notice the everyday changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.
Unfortunately, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a certain extent restored, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recover.
So how can you recognize the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should consider a professional hearing test.
1. Difficulties hearing particular sounds
Oftentimes people think that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.
Do not get trapped into this manner of thinking. The fact is that hearing loss predominantly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You may discover that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, due to the higher pitch of their voices.
This may lead you to think that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when the fact is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Relying on context to understand
Someone is speaking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You are forced to depend on body language, and possibly lip reading, for supplementary information to fill in the blanks.
Speech is composed of a range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for people with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants convey the the majority of the meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is like reading a sentence with missing letters. For the most part, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
With mild hearing loss, you can usually decode what others are saying, albeit with lots of effort. Once background noise is presented, on the other hand, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You may discover that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it exceptionally difficult to concentrate on any single source of sound.
4. Mental Exhaustion
Finally, you may observe that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For those with hearing loss, the continual struggle to hear, combined with the effort to understand incomplete sounds, can contribute to serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more difficult to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly encourage arranging a hearing test. By acting earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.