You don’t suddenly lose your hearing one day when you wake up. Hearing loss happens in degrees for most people, particularly 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 notice a change. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you may not realize there is an issue right away.
The early signs of gradual hearing loss are subtle. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. However, if you don’t know what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. Think about these eight barely noticeable clues that you could have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but people tend to ignore it unless it’s distracting. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
Triggers are a significant factor in tinnitus so it can be sporadic, too. For 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. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be induced by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for certain until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Hate Talking on The Phone
Here are some common excuses for phone issues:
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
- My phone is old.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
If you hate using the phone consider the reasons why. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the issue.
3. These Days it Seems As if Everyone Mumbles
It used to be only the kids, but recently, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. It’s hard to believe that everyone in your life suddenly has poor enunciation.
It’s more probable that you might not be hearing words in the same way. Mumbling or dropped off consonants such as “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.
You may not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people you see every day like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Perhaps when you are having a chat with your neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife starts to talk you can’t understand a word. 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’s not as clear. You may 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 tones are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Used to be Much More Fun
Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to comprehend what people are saying when you are in a noisy place. Something as simple as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people conversing around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Feel More Tired Than Normal
It’s can be exhausting struggling to comprehend what people are saying. Your brain has to work extra hard to process what it does hear, so you are more tired than usual. Your other senses might also experience changes. 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 test was okay, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.
8. That Dang TV
It’s 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, maybe it’s time for a hearing exam. It can be tough to hear the dialog on TV shows when you suffer from loss of hearing. There is the background music confusing things, for instance. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other things in the room. Your hearing is probably starting to fail if you need to keep turning the volume up.
A professional hearing exam will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If you find out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.