If you suffer from hearing loss, you would think it would be obvious, right?

Well, that’s precisely the problem; many people presume it would. However, although severe or sudden hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be too subtle to detect. That’s why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the beginning of symptoms to seek help.

Think of hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to notice the daily changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.

Regrettably, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to some extent restored, but the sooner you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll restore.

So how can you recognize the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Below are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should get a professional hearing assessment.

1. Difficulty hearing particular sounds

Commonly people think that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.

Don’t get trapped into this mode of reasoning. The truth is that hearing loss predominately affects higher-frequency sounds. You may discover that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, due to the higher pitch of their voices.

This may lead you to think that the individuals you can’t hear are mumbling, when the reality is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.

2. Relying on context to comprehend speech

Someone is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying unless you turn around and face them. You have to rely on body language, and potentially lip reading, for additional information used to fill in the blanks.

Speech is composed of an array of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The issue for people with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants transmit the most meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.

If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is like reading a sentence with missing letters. Normally, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves frequently. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.

3. Difficulty hearing in noisy settings

With mild hearing loss, you can normally decipher what other people are saying, albeit with lots of effort. Once background noise is presented, on the other hand, the task often becomes overwhelming.

You might find that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in loud environments like restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it highly difficult to concentrate on any one source of sound.

4. Listening Fatigue

Last, you may observe that you’re more tired than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For people with hearing loss, the continuous battle to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can trigger severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is gradual and ends up being more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly recommend arranging a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.