It might seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does someone know they have it? There’s no sharp pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t pass out or make additional trips to the bathroom when it occurs, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Nevertheless, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change could be having in your life. Consider the ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you love.
A Change in Communication
The impact on socialization offers some of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not comprehending words well. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they are likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to how people respond to having discussions with you.
When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty following along. You are missing parts of what everyone says, thus you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you dodge group conversations or stand there not listening to what is said, since it is just too confusing when you do.
You Can’t Hear Over the Background Noise
If all you hear these days is background sound, then it’s time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you are no longer able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing off, or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Volume Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop
It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this tired box because of a busy room, but if it occurs all the time, it’s most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you need to wonder why that is, and, likely, conclude that your hearing is not as good as it had been at one time.
You End up Watching Their Lips
Lip reading is a coping skill for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your mind might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to repair the problem. It is likely that you won’t even know you do it until someone tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when talking with you.
The Ringing Doesn’t Stop
It can be a ringing, clicking, buzzing or the noise of breeze in your ears — that is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many people, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got it, then you surely have hearing loss you will need to address.
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 can give rise to this problem such as high blood pressure or medication you take that could harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.
It’s really like putting pieces of a puzzle together. If you do come to that conclusion, visit your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for most, it will imply it’s time to think about hearing aids.