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. Usually, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. You may not realize the problem immediately even though some signs show up earlier.
Early hearing loss has progressive and subtle symptoms. 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. Think about these eight barely noticeable indicators that you could have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s distracting. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
The ringing can be sporadic and only act up when triggered. As an example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is happening with your body so it should never be ignored. 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. Talking on The Phone is Stressful
It’s easy to make excuses for phone problems like:
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- My phone is out dated.
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 can’t hear it. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing problem.
3. It Seems Like Everybody Mumbles These Days
It used to be only the kids, but recently, the lady on the TV news, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. It’s difficult to believe that everyone in your life suddenly has poor enunciation.
The more likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. Mumbling or dropped off consonants like “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.
Only when 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 comments on it.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Maybe when you are having a conversation with your neighbor everything sounds fine 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 normal symptom.
Her voice is higher pitched, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild might present the same problem. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those tones are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Used to be Much More Fun
Worse yet are the people who actually mumble. 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 conversing around you or the AC comes on.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
It’s can be fatiguing struggling to understand what people are saying. You are more exhausted than normal because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. Your other senses might also experience changes. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to understand words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? If your last eye test was okay, then the next thing to get checked is your ears.
8. You Can’t Hear The TV
It’s easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep turning up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing test. It can be hard to follow the dialog on TV shows when you have loss of hearing. There is the background music confusing things, for instance. What about the other stuff in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing could be faltering.
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 you have a hearing problem.