You don’t suddenly lose your hearing one day when you wake up. For most people, loss of hearing comes in degrees, 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 recognize a change. You may not detect the problem right away even though some symptoms show up earlier.
Early hearing loss has gradual and subtle signs. 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 signs that you could have hearing loss.
1. Ringing in The Ears
Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
Triggers are a major factor in tinnitus so it can be sporadic, too. For 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 going on with your body so it should never be ignored. It could be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. If you want to know for certain, you will need to consult your doctor.
2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful
It’s not hard to make excuses for phone issues like:
- My phone is old.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
If you dislike using the phone consider the reasons why. Get someone you know to test the phone for you if the volume is up and you still don’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your ears are the problem.
3. It Seems As if Everybody Mumbles These Days
It used to be just 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 you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
The most likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the first signs that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” drop off.
Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to realize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Very often, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to notice you are struggling to hear. If someone comments on it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Just Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can understand the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife starts talking, everything gets messed 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 isn’t as clear. You might have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in normal situations, something as basic as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those sounds are high pitched, also.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be
Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when it’s noisy. Something as simple as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people chatting around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Feel More Tired Than Normal
It’s can be draining struggling to understand what people are saying. Your brain has to work extra hard to process what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than normal. You may 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? If your last eye examination was normal, then the next thing to get checked is your ears.
8. That Dang TV
Instead of accusing the service provider when you need to keep turning the TV up, think about getting a hearing test. When you have hearing loss it can be difficult to hear dialog. For instance, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. What about the other stuff in the room such as the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing may be failing.
A professional hearing exam will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If you find out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.