It’s not like you simply wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss happens gradually over time for most people, especially 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 recognize a change. Some symptoms show up earlier, though, and you may not realize there is a problem immediately.
The initial signs of progressive 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. You can’t recognize the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. You could be suffering from hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable indicators.
1. Ringing in The Ears
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s distracting. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a common sign of hearing loss.
The ringing can be intermittent and only act up when triggered. For instance, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be ignored. It might be hearing loss, but it might also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for sure until you consult your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s not hard to make excuses for phone issues like:
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- I have an old phone.
If you hate talking on the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still don’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your ears are the issue.
3. It Seems Like Everybody Mumbles These Days
Recently, it’s not only the kids, but your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have begun to mumble to you. It’s hard to believe that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
The most likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the first indications that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants such as “S” and “T” drop off.
Only when someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start to recognize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are struggling to hear. Pay attention if someone comments on it.
5. You Hear Some People Just Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can understand the neighbor fine, but when his wife starts talking, everything gets messed up. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or injury to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a normal symptom.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. You may have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even things like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those sounds are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Used to be Much More Fun
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say that much harder. Something as simple as the AC popping on during dinner or the sound of people talking around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Never Used to Feel This Tired
Battling to understand words is fatiguing. You are more fatigued than usual because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. Your other senses may also experience changes. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to understand words? If your last eye examination was okay, then the next thing to get tested is your hearing.
8. You Can’t Hear The TV
It’s easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep cranking up the volume, but if this is going on all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing test. It can be tough to hear people talking on TV shows when you suffer from hearing loss. For instance, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. Your hearing is most likely beginning to fail if you have to keep turning the volume up.
A professional hearing test will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.