It’s not like you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss comes in degrees for most people, 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 realize there is a problem immediately.
Early hearing loss has progressive and subtle signs. 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 signs that you could have hearing loss.
1. Ears Ringing
Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but people tend to ignore it unless it’s distracting. The medical term for this ringing is tinnitus, a common symptom of hearing loss.
Triggers are a major factor with tinnitus so it can be intermittent, too. For instance, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
It’s essential that you don’t neglect tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is happening with your body. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Hate Talking on The Phone
Here are some common excuses for phone issues:
- 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.
If you hate talking on the phone consider the reasons why. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let a friend test the phone for you. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your ears are the issue.
3. It Seems Like Everyone Mumbles Now
Lately, it’s not only the kids, but also your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have started to mumble to you. It’s difficult to believe 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.
Only when someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to realize that you can’t hear conversations as well anymore. Very often, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are struggling to hear. If someone comments on it, pay attention.
5. You Hear Some People Perfectly Fine But Not Others
Perhaps when you are having a conversation with your neighbor everything sounds fine but when his wife starts to talk you can’t make out a word. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or injury to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a normal symptom.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it isn’t as clear. You may have the same issue with your grandchild or daughter. 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 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. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start conversing around you or the AC comes on.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
It’s can be fatiguing struggling to understand what people are saying. You are more tired than usual because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. 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? If your last eye exam was normal, then the next thing to get checked is your hearing.
8. That Darn TV
Instead of blaming the service provider when you need to keep cranking the TV up, consider getting a hearing exam. When you have hearing loss it can be difficult to follow dialog. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound confusing. And don’t forget about the AC, ceiling fan or other things in the room. Your hearing is most likely beginning to falter if you need to keep turning up the volume.
The good news is all you need to do to know for sure is a professional hearing exam. Hearing aids should get things back to normal if it turns out that your hearing has declined.