You may think it would be obvious, but hearing loss can be gradual, so how can someone know if they have it? There is no darting pain to function as a danger sign. You don’t lose consciousness or make a few more trips to the toilet once it happens, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Nevertheless, there are indicators should you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Consider some ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you care about.
A Change in Speech
The impact on socializing offers some of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t understanding words easily. Asking the people that you speak to repeat what they said is something they are very likely to notice before you do, too, so pay attention to how people respond to having conversations with you.
When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you may have trouble following along. You’re missing parts of what each person says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you hide from group conversations or stand there not listening to what’s said, because it is just too confusing when you do.
The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out
If all you hear these days is background sound, then it is time for a hearing test. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you’re no longer able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background noise.
The TV Volume Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop
It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying set because of a busy room, but if it occurs every day, it is probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t like it had been once.
You Find Yourself Seeing Their Mouth
Lip reading is a coping skill for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you do not even understand you do it until someone tells you or suddenly looks uncomfortable when talking to you.
Then There is the Buzzing
The constant clicking or buzzing or the sound of wind in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some folks, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you most surely have hearing loss that you need to handle.
Hearing problems aren’t always evident to the person suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that may give rise to this problem like hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.
It is like putting pieces of a puzzle together. If you do come to that conclusion, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for most, it will mean it is time to consider hearing aids.