It’s not as if you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, 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 recognize a change. Some symptoms show up earlier, though, and you may not notice there is a problem right away.
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. You can’t recognize the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. Consider these eight barely noticeable clues that you might have hearing loss.
1. Ringing in The Ears
This is a symptom that people tend to ignore if it doesn’t become too distracting and it’s really not that subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a common sign of hearing loss.
The ringing can be intermittent and only act up when triggered. For instance, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
Tinnitus is a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be neglected. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused 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 not hard to make excuses for phone issues like:
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- I have an out dated phone.
Think about why you dislike talking on our phone. Get someone else 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. These Days it Seems Like Everyone Mumbles
It used to be just the kids, but lately, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they talk to you. It’s difficult to believe that everyone in your life suddenly has poor enunciation.
It’s more probable that you may not be hearing words in the same way. 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 realize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are struggling to hear. If someone says something about it, pay attention.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Perhaps when you are having a chat with your neighbor everything sounds fine but when his wife starts to talk you can’t make out a word. It’s a common sign of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.
Her voice is higher pitched, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same issue. Even things like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those tones are also high pitched.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be
Worse yet are the people who actually mumble. Also, it’s much harder to comprehend what people are saying when you are in a noisy place. 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 comprehend words is exhausting. Your brain has to work overtime to process what it does hear, so you are more tired than normal. Your other senses might also experience changes. 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 tested 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 cranking up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing test. It can be tough to hear people talking on TV shows when you have loss of hearing. There is the background music confusing things, for example. What about the other stuff in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing could be faltering.
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.