You don’t abruptly lose your hearing one day when you wake up. Hearing loss happens gradually over time for most people, particularly when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even recognized until after the age of 75. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you may not notice there is an issue immediately.
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 don’t know what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. You may be suffering from hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable signs.
1. Ears Ringing
Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a common sign of hearing loss.
Triggers are a considerable factor in tinnitus so it can be periodic, too. Perhaps the ringing only takes place when your tired or in the morning for example.
Tinnitus is a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be ignored. It may be hearing loss, but it might also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. If you want to know for sure, you will need to consult your doctor.
2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful
Here are some common excuses for phone problems:
- My phone is old.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
Consider why you dislike using our phone. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still don’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the issue.
3. These Days it Seems As if Everybody Mumbles
It used to be only the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. It’s difficult to imagine that everyone in your life suddenly has poor enunciation.
It’s much more likely that you might not be hearing words in the same way. Mumbling or dropped off consonants such as “S” or “T” is one of the first signs that your hearing is changing.
You might not even realize that you can’t hear conversations any more until someone points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are having difficulties hearing. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can hear the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife joins the conversation, everything gets muddled up. It’s a common sign of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.
Her voice isn’t as clear because it’s higher pitched. You might have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can throw a loop into things. Those sounds 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, being in noisy places makes comprehending what people say that much harder. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start conversing around you or the AC pops on.
7. You Are More Tired Than Normal
Battling to understand words is fatiguing. Your brain has to work extra hard to manage what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than normal. You might even observe changes in your other senses. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to understand words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? It’s time to have your ears tested if your eye exam came back normal.
8. You Can’t Hear The 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 happening all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing exam. When you have loss of hearing it can be hard to hear 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. Your hearing is probably beginning to fail if you have to keep turning up the volume.
A professional hearing test will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If it turns out your hearing is declining, hearing aids will get things back to normal.