It might seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does someone know if they have it? There is no darting pain to serve as a danger sign. You don’t collapse or make extra trips to the restroom once it happens, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Nevertheless, there are indications if you know to look for them. It’s a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change might be having on your life. Take the time to consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
A Change in Conversation
The effect on socialization provides a number of the most telling signals. As an example, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t comprehending words well. Asking the people you talk to tell you again what they said is something they’re likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way people react to having discussions with you.
When talking in a group of two or more individuals, you might have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing bits of what everybody says, thus you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you avoid group conversations or stand there not listening to what is stated, because it’s just
too confusing when you do.
Background Noise Becomes Too Much
If the only thing you hear nowadays is background sound, then it’s time for a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying for you since it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Goes Up and Upward
It is easy to blame the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying box because of a noisy area, but if it happens all the time, it is most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you need to wonder why this is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing is not as good as it was once.
You Find Yourself Watching Their Mouth
Lip reading is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be incomplete. Your mind might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you won’t even know you do it until someone tells you or suddenly seems uncomfortable when speaking to you.
Hearing a Buzz
You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For many people, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you surely have hearing loss you need to handle.
Hearing problems are not always evident to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that can contribute to this problem such as high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed 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 this conclusion, see your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the worst health issue you could have, but for most, it does mean it’s time to think about hearing aids.