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A man is unable to hear or see and is surrounded by question marks.

You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how can someone know if they have it? There’s no darting pain to serve as a danger sign. You do not lose consciousness or make unnecessary trips to the toilet when it occurs, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.

Nevertheless, there are indications should you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change might be having on your life. Consider some ways you’re able to pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Shift in Speech

The impact on socialization provides a number of the most telling signals. As an example, if the first thing out of your mouth during most discussions is “what?” That shows you aren’t comprehending words easily. Asking the people that you speak to repeat what they said is something they’re likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to the way people react to having discussions with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You’re missing parts of what each person says, thus you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you limit group discussions or stand there not listening to what’s said, since it is just too confusing once you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

If all you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Up and Up

It is simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying box because of a busy room, but when it happens all the time, it’s probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why this really is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing isn’t as good as it was at one time.

You End up Watching Their Lips

Reading lips is a coping skill for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words that contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your brain might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you won’t even understand you do it until somebody tells you or unexpectedly acts uncomfortable when speaking to you.

You Hear a Buzz or Hum

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it is an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many folks, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have that, then you surely have hearing loss that you need to handle.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the person suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical issues that can contribute to the problem like high blood pressure or medication you take that could damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

When you do come to that decision, see your doctor and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for many, it will mean it’s time to think about hearing aids.