If you have hearing loss, you would imagine it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s exactly the issue; many people assume it would. However, although severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate progressive hearing loss can be far too subtle to notice. That’s why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the onset of symptoms to seek out help.
Think of hearing loss as a gradual leak in a tire. It’s challenging to notice the day to day changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.
Unfortunately, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be in some measure recovered, but the earlier you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll restore.
So how can you determine the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Here are several of the hidden signs that indicate you should consider a hearing assessment.
1. Trouble hearing specific sounds
Commonly people assume that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. So, if you can hear some sounds normally, you believe you can hear all sounds normally.
Don’t get caught up into this manner of reasoning. The fact is that hearing loss predominantly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You may observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, owing to the higher pitch of their voices.
This may lead you to believe that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when in reality, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to comprehend speech
Someone is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to rely on body language, and potentially lip reading, for supplementary information to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants impart the the majority of the 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 find yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves often. You may also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy environments
With mild hearing loss, you can generally decipher what other people are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. As soon as background noise is presented, on the other hand, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You may discover that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in noisy environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it highly difficult to focus on any single source of sound.
4. Mental Fatigue
Last, you may observe that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For people with hearing loss, the continuous fight to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can contribute to extreme exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you experience any of these symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly recommend scheduling a hearing test. By acting sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.