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If you suffer from hearing loss, you might imagine it would be obvious, right?

Actually, that’s precisely the issue; many people presume it would. Unfortunately, although severe or sudden hearing loss is easy to detect, mild to moderate progressive hearing loss can be far too subtle to observe. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the beginning of symptoms to search for help.

Picture hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s challenging to observe the everyday changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.

Regrettably, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be partially recovered, but the sooner you attend to your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recoup.

So how can you detect the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Following are some of the hidden signs that indicate you should consider a professional hearing assessment.

1. Trouble hearing specific sounds

Frequently people think that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.

Don’t get caught up into this manner of thinking. The reality is that hearing loss principally impacts higher-frequency sounds. You may notice that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, due to the higher pitch of their voices.

This may lead you to believe that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when in fact, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Depending on context to understand

Somebody is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying unless you turn around. You are forced to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for extra information used to fill in the blanks.

Speech is composed of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants convey the most meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is just like reading a sentence with missing letters. More often than not, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You might also have difficulties hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in noisy surroundings

With mild hearing loss, you can typically decode what other people are saying, albeit with lots of effort. As soon as background noise is presented, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.

You may discover that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in loud environments like restaurants or parties. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it extremely difficult to focus on any single source of sound.

4. Listening Fatigue

Last, you may observe that you’re more tired than normal after work or after engagement in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the continual fight to hear, together with the effort to comprehend incomplete sounds, can produce severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you have any of these symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly recommend scheduling a hearing test. By acting sooner, you can conserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.