You don’t abruptly lose your hearing one morning when you wake up. For most people, loss of hearing gradually over time, especially when it is related 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 notice a change. Some signs show up sooner, though, and you don’t notice there is an issue immediately.
The initial symptoms of progressive 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. Think about these eight barely noticeable indicators that you might have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
This is a symptom that people have a tendency to ignore if it doesn’t become too disruptive and it’s actually not that subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a typical symptom of hearing loss.
Triggers are a major factor with tinnitus so it can be periodic, too. As an example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
It’s essential that you don’t neglect tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is happening with your body. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be induced by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for certain until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s easy to make excuses for phone problems like:
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- I have an out dated phone.
- I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
If you dislike talking on the phone think about the reasons why. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the problem.
3. It Seems Like Everyone Mumbles These Days
It used to be only the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to muttering when they talk to you. Could it really be true that all of a sudden everyone in your life has poor enunciation.
It’s more probable that you may not be hearing words in the same way. Mumbling or dropped off consonants like “S” or “T” is one of the first indications that your hearing is changing.
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. Usually, the first to notice you have hearing loss are people you see every day like coworkers or family members. If someone says something about it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Maybe you can understand the neighbor fine, but when his wife joins the conversation, everything gets messed up. 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 isn’t as clear because it’s a higher pitch. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same issue. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those sounds are high pitched, also.
6. Going Out Used to be Much More Fun
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, being in noisy places makes understanding what people say that much harder. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start chatting around you or the AC comes on.
7. You Are More Tired Than Normal
Struggling to understand words is tiring. Your brain has to work overtime to manage what it does hear, so you are more exhausted than normal. You might even observe changes in your other senses. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to comprehend words? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back normal.
8. That Dang 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 going on all the time, maybe it’s time for a hearing exam. It can be tough to follow people talking on TV shows when you suffer from loss of hearing. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. And don’t even mention the AC, ceiling fan or other noises in the room. Your hearing is most likely starting to falter if you have to keep turning up the volume.
A professional hearing exam will tell you for certain and that’s the good news. If you find out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids can get things back to normal.