You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how does someone know if they have it? There is no darting pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t pass out or make extra trips to the bathroom once it happens, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or heart disease.
Even so, there are indicators if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Consider the ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.
Social Situations are Difficult
The impact on socialization provides a number of the most telling indications. For instance, if the first word from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not comprehending words easily. Asking the people that you talk to tell you again what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks react to having a chat with you.
When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty keeping track of things. You’re missing pieces of what each person says, thus you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everyone speaking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. As time passes, you hide from group discussions or stand there not understanding what’s stated, because it’s just too confusing once you do.
The Background Noise Takes Over
If all you hear these days is background sound, then it’s time to get a hearing exam. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what folks are saying for you since it becomes lost in the background noise.
The TV Creeps Up and Upward
It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on this dying set because of a noisy area, but if it happens all the time, it’s most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it was once.
You Find Yourself Seeing Their Mouth
Reading lips is a coping mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words that contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your mind might automatically refocus your eyes on the individual’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you do not even know you do it before someone tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when talking with you.
A Ringing in Your Ears
It can be a ringing, clicking or buzz or the sound of wind in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom sounds that only you hear. For some people, they are only bothersome, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you certainly have hearing loss you will need to address.
Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical issues that can give rise to this problem like high blood pressure or medication you take that can damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
If you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it does imply it is time to think about hearing aids.