You don’t suddenly lose your hearing one day when you wake up. 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. Often, the change isn’t even recognized until after the age of 75. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you may not realize there is an issue immediately.
Early hearing loss has gradual and subtle signs. 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. You may be suffering from hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable indicators.
1. Ears Ringing
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but people tend to ignore it unless it’s disruptive. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a common sign of hearing loss.
Triggers are a significant factor in tinnitus so it can be periodic, too. For instance, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
It’s crucial that you don’t neglect tinnitus because it is an indication that something is happening with your body. It could be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. 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:
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- I have an old phone.
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
Think about why you dislike using our phone. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is 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 also your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have begun to mumble to you. It’s difficult to believe that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
It’s much more likely that you might not be hearing words in the same way. One of the first signs that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” drop off.
4. What Did You Say?
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start to realize that you can’t hear conversations as well anymore. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are having difficulties hearing. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Maybe when you are having a conversation with your neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife joins in you can’t understand a word. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or damage to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a common symptom.
Her voice isn’t as clear because it’s a higher pitch. Your daughter or grandchild might present the same problem. 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 sounds are high pitched, also.
6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say a big challenge. Something as routine as the AC popping on during dinner or the sound of people chatting around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
Struggling to comprehend words is exhausting. You are more fatigued than normal because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. You might even observe changes in your other senses. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to understand words? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back okay.
8. That Darn 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 happening all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing exam. When you have loss of hearing it can be difficult to hear dialog. There is the background music confusing things, for example. How about the other sounds in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? Your hearing is most likely starting to falter if you have to keep turning up the volume.
The good news is all it takes to know for sure is a professional hearing test. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.