It’s not like you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss happens in degrees 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 notice a change. Some signs show up sooner, 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 identify the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. Think about these eight barely noticeable signs that you might have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
This is a symptom that people tend to neglect if it doesn’t get too distracting and it’s actually not very subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a typical sign of hearing loss.
The ringing can be periodic and only act up when triggered. For example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
It’s essential that you don’t ignore tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is happening with your body. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be induced by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s easy 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.
- My phone is old.
If you hate talking on the phone think about the reasons why. If you turn the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let a friend test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the problem.
3. These Days it Seems Like Everyone Mumbles
It used to be only the kids, but recently, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. Could it actually be possible that all of a sudden everyone in your life has poor enunciation.
It’s much 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 signs that your hearing is changing.
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start to recognize that you can’t hear conversations as well anymore. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people you see every day like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Perhaps you can understand the neighbor fine, but when his wife joins the conversation, everything gets muddled up. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or injury to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a common symptom.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same problem. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those sounds are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Used to be Much More Fun
Again, there are those people who mumble, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to comprehend 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 conversing around you or the AC comes on.
7. You Never Used to Feel This Tired
Battling to comprehend words is exhausting. Your brain has to work overtime to process what it does hear, so you are more tired than usual. Your other senses might also undergo 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 exam was okay, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.
8. That Darn TV
It is easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep turning up the volume, but if this is going on all the time, maybe it’s time for a hearing test. It can be difficult to follow people talking on TV shows when you have loss of hearing. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. How about the other sounds in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? Your hearing is probably beginning to falter if you need to keep turning up the volume.
The good news is all you need to do to know for sure is a professional hearing exam. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.