You might think it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does one know they have it? There is no shooting pain to function as a warning signal. You don’t collapse or make a few more trips to the bathroom when it occurs, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Even so, there are indicators if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change might be having on your life. Consider the ways you’re able to pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
A Shift in Speech
The impact on socializing offers some of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first thing out of your mouth during most discussions is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t comprehending words well. Questioning people you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are very likely to notice before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks respond to having conversations with you.
When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you might have trouble keeping track of things. You’re missing parts of what each person says, thus you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everybody talking to repeat themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you limit group discussions or stand there not understanding what’s said, because it’s just too confusing when you do.
The Background Noise Takes Over
If the only thing you hear nowadays is background noise, then it’s time for a hearing exam. This is a common symptom of hearing loss since you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Goes Up and Upward
It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying box because of a noisy room, but if it happens every day, it’s probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins telling you that you’ve got the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing is not like it was once.
You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips
Reading lips is a coping mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes to the individual’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you do not even understand you do it until someone points it out or unexpectedly seems uncomfortable when talking with you.
Then There is the Ringing
It can be a ringing, clicking or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many folks, they are only bothersome, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you most surely have hearing loss you will need to address.
Hearing problems are not always evident to the individual experiencing them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical issues that may give rise to this problem such as high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed that could harm your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
When you do come to this decision, see your doctor and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for many, it does imply it’s time to think about hearing aids.