It may seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss can be slow, so how can someone know they have it? There is no darting pain to serve as a warning signal. You do not pass out or make a few more trips to the toilet when it happens, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Nevertheless, there are indications if you know what to look for. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change could be having in your life. Consider some ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or someone you love.
Conversation is Harder
The effect on socialization provides some 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 aren’t comprehending words easily. Asking the people that you speak to repeat what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way people react to having a chat with you.
When talking in a group of a couple of people, you may have trouble following along. You’re missing bits of what everybody says, so you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you avoid group discussions or stand there not understanding what is said, because it’s just too confusing once you do.
The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over
If the only thing you hear these days is background sound, then it is time for a hearing test. This is a common sign of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point where you can’t hear what folks are saying for you because it becomes lost in the background sound.
The TV Volume Creeps Up and Up and Up
It is simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on that tired set because of a noisy area, but if it occurs all the time, it’s most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, likely, conclude that your hearing isn’t as good as it was at one time.
You End up Watching Their Mouth
Reading lips is a coping mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain specific letters will probably be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes on the individual’s lips to repair the problem. Chances are you don’t even understand you do it before someone tells you or suddenly looks uncomfortable when speaking to you.
The Buzz in Your Ear
The constant clicking or buzzing or the sound of wind in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many folks, they are only annoying, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you most certainly have hearing loss that you need to address.
Hearing problems aren’t always evident to the individual experiencing them, but it is to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical issues that may contribute to the problem like hypertension or medication you take that could harm your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
If you do come to that conclusion, see your doctor and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss is not the worst health issue you could have, but for most, it does imply it is time to think about hearing aids.