Your hearing won’t be just gone one day when you wake up. For most people, hearing loss happens in degrees, particularly when it is associated with aging. You might not realize it’s taking place immediately but some signs do appear earlier.
The initial symptoms of progressive hearing loss are discrete. Identifying them sooner is crucial to delay the progression of hearing loss or other health issues related to aging. However, you’re unable to recognize the signs if you don’t know what they are. You might be developing hearing loss if you identify any of the following eight barely noticeable indicators.
1. Some voices you can’t hear very well, others you can
Maybe when you talk to your brother, you can understand him fine, but when your wife talks, some words just seem to get lost. It’s a common sign that the nerves that transmit messages to the brain are damaged (called sensorineural hearing loss).
Her voice is not as clear to you because the pitch is higher. You might not be capable of hearing your daughter or grandchild very well for the same reason. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can throw a loop into things. Those tones are high, too.
2. You don’t like to talk on the phone
When the phone rings you are inclined to make excuses for not answering:
- It’s probably just spam
- It’s a new phone, and I’m simply not used to it yet
Consider why you dread using your phone. If you have the volume at max and can’t understand what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If they are able to hear the conversation and you can’t, your ears are probably the problem.
3. Why is everybody mumbling?
It seems like it’s no longer just the kids who are mumbling when they talk, it’s your neighbor, the news woman, your partner, and even your bartender. If it seems like everyone in your life is mumbling, you’re probably dealing with hearing loss, because what is the likelihood of that? The way you hear words is changing. One of the first indications that something is going on with your hearing is when it sounds like people are mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” are dropping off.
It may not be until someone points out that you’re saying “what?” a lot that you realize you are developing hearing loss. Frequently the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are having a hard time hearing. If somebody comments on it, you should pay attention.
5. What’s that ringing in my ears?
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing or buzzing in the ear, is a common symptom of hearing loss.
Tinnitus can also be intermittent because triggers are a significant factor. Maybe, when you first get up in the morning is when you have the most significant ringing or buzzing. Or, it could also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory issues, or trauma.
If you’re noticing these symptoms you should make an appointment for an exam because they could be a sign that you’re having a health issue.
6. Joining your friends at the neighborhood BBQ isn’t as enjoyable
It’s no fun when it sounds as if that many people are mumbling at the same time. Also, being in noisy settings makes understanding what people say that much harder. Something as basic as children playing and splashing around in the pool or the sound of the AC kicking on you makes it impossible to hear anything. And attempting to keep up with conversations is exhausting.
7. You’re normally not this exhausted
It’s exhausting when you struggle to understand words. You feel more fatigued than normal because your brain has to work overtime to try and interpret what it’s trying to hear. Your other senses may even start to change. How much energy is left over for eyesight, for example, if your brain is spending so much of its energy attempting to hear and understand words? If your most recent eye test was good, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.
8. Why can’t I hear this TV?
It’s easy to blame your old TV or the service provider when you need to keep cranking the volume up. When you have hearing loss it’s difficult to hear dialog on your favorite shows. Dialogue is being muddled by background music and sound effects. What about the other stuff in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If you keep turning the volume up, then your hearing might be failing.
Fortunately, all it takes to know for sure is a professional hearing assessment and if you find out your hearing is declining, hearing aids will help you get back to normal.
If you notice any of the above signs of hearing loss, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.