You don’t abruptly lose your hearing one morning when you wake up. For most people, hearing loss gradually over time, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. Some signs show up sooner, though, and you may not realize there is an issue right away.
The initial symptoms of gradual 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. However, if you’re not sure what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. Think about these eight barely noticeable indicators that you may have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
This is one that people have a tendency to neglect if it doesn’t become too disruptive and it’s actually not very subtle. Tinnitus, the medical term for the ringing, is a common sign of hearing loss.
Triggers are a major factor in tinnitus so it can be sporadic, too. For example, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be ignored. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you see your doctor, though.
2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful
Here are some common excuses for phone issues:
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
- My phone is out dated.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
If you hate using the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone you know 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 hearing is the issue.
3. It Seems As if Everybody Mumbles These Days
Lately, it’s not only your 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 more likely that you might not be hearing words in the same way. Mumbling or dropped off consonants like “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.
4. What Did You Say?
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to recognize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people close to you like coworkers or family members. If someone says something about it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Just Fine But Not Others
Perhaps when you are having a conversation with your neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife starts to talk you can’t make out 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 higher pitched. You may have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in common situations, something as basic as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things complicated. Those tones are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Once Was
Again, there are those people who mumble, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when you are in a noisy place. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start chatting around you or the AC pops on.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
It’s can be exhausting struggling to understand what people are saying. You are more fatigued than normal because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. You might even notice changes in your other senses. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to comprehend words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? If your last eye test was normal, then the next thing to get checked is your ears.
8. That Darn TV
Instead of accusing the service provider when you have to keep turning the TV up, think about getting a hearing exam. When you have hearing loss it can be difficult to follow dialog. There is the background music confusing things, for example. And don’t even mention the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing might be failing.
A professional hearing exam 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.