You may think it’d be evident, but hearing loss will be slow, so how does someone know if they have it? There is no shooting pain to serve as a warning sign. You do not collapse or make a few more trips to the toilet when it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
Even so, there are indications should you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change could be having in your life. Consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
A Shift in Conversation
The impact on socialization offers some of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first thing out of your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how folks react to having conversations with you.
When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty following along. You are missing parts of what everybody says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you avoid group discussions or stand there not listening to what’s stated, because it is just too confusing when you do.
The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out
If all you hear nowadays is background noise, then it’s time for a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss since you’re no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point at which you can not hear what people are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Volume Creeps Up and Upward
It is simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this dying box because of a noisy area, but when it occurs all the time, it is most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it was at one time.
You End up Watching Their Lips
Reading lips is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will probably be faulty. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to fix the issue. It is likely that you do not even know you do it before somebody points it out or suddenly looks uncomfortable when speaking with you.
Then There’s the Buzzing
It can be a ringing, clicking or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — that is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some people, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got that, then you surely have hearing loss that you need to address.
Hearing problems are not always evident to the person suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical problems that can give rise to this problem like hypertension or medication you take that could damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.
If you do come to this conclusion, visit your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for many, it will imply it is time to consider hearing aids.