It may seem like it would be evident, but hearing loss can be gradual, so how can someone know they have it? There is no shooting pain to function as a warning sign. You do not lose consciousness or make extra trips to the bathroom when it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
Even so, there are indicators if you know what you’re looking for. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Take the time to consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.
A Shift in Speech
The impact on socializing provides some of the most telling signals. As an example, if the first thing out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words well. Asking the people you talk to tell you again what they said is something they’re likely to detect 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 following along. You’re missing pieces of what each person says, so you aren’t part of the conversation. You can not ask everybody talking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you dodge group conversations or stand there not listening to what is stated, since it is just too confusing once you do.
If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time to get a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss since you are no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background noise.
The TV Goes Up and Up and Up
It is simple to excuse the need to flip the TV volume up on this dying set because of a noisy area, but if it happens every day, it is most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts telling you that you’ve got 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 like it had been once.
You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips
Lip reading is a coping mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes onto the person’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you don’t even know you do it until somebody tells you or unexpectedly seems uncomfortable when talking with you.
Tinnitus Takes its Toll
It can be a ringing, clicking or buzz or the sound of wind in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For many people, they are just annoying, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have that, then you most certainly have hearing loss you need to handle.
Hearing problems are not always evident to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical issues that can contribute to the problem such as high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed that can damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.
When you do come to that decision, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for many, it does mean it’s time to consider hearing aids.