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 comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Usually, the change isn’t even noticed until after the age of 75. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you may not notice there is a problem right away.
The initial signs 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. You might be suffering from hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable indicators.
1. Ringing in The Ears
Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a typical symptom of hearing loss.
The ringing can be intermittent and only act up when triggered. Perhaps the ringing only occurs when your tired or when you first get up for instance.
It’s essential that you don’t ignore tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is going on with your body. It could be hearing loss, but it could also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for sure until you consult your doctor, though.
2. You Hate Talking on The Phone
It’s not hard to make excuses for phone issues like:
- My phone is damaged from being dropped.
- I have an old phone.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
If you hate talking on the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still can’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your ears are the issue.
3. It Seems Like Everybody Mumbles These Days
It used to be just the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to muttering when they speak to you. It’s difficult to imagine that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
The more likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the initial indications that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants like “S” and “T” drop off.
You may not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until someone points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people close to you like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone says something about it.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Perhaps when you are having a chat with your neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife starts to talk you can’t make out a word. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild might present the same problem. Even when you are in normal situations, something as simple as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things difficult. Those tones are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Once Was
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when you are in a noisy place. Something as routine as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people conversing around you makes it impossible to hear anything.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
Struggling to understand words is fatiguing. You are more tired than normal because your brain is working harder to process what it hears. Your other senses may also undergo changes. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to comprehend words? If your last eye examination was okay, then the next thing to get checked is your hearing.
8. That Darn TV
Instead of accusing the service provider when you need to keep turning the TV up, consider getting a hearing exam. When you have hearing loss it can be hard to hear dialog. There is the background music confusing things, for example. And don’t even mention the AC, ceiling fan or other things in the room. Your hearing is most likely beginning to falter if you need to keep turning the volume up.
A professional hearing test will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If you find out your hearing is declining, hearing aids can get things back to normal.