It might seem like it’d be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be gradual, so how does one know if they have it? There’s no sharp pain to function as a danger sign. You don’t collapse or make additional trips to the restroom once it happens, either. It’s safe to say the signs of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Even so, there are indications should you know what to look for. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the impact any change might be having in your life. Consider some ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you care about.
A Shift in Communication
The impact on socialization offers some of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they’re very likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how folks react to having a chat with you.
When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you may have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing parts of what each person says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you avoid group discussions or stand there not listening to what’s said, because it is just too confusing when you do.
The Background Noise Takes Over
If all you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time for a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you’re no longer able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing off, or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point where 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 easy to blame the need to turn the TV volume up on this tired set because of a noisy area, but if it happens all the time, it is probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t like it had been at one time.
You End up Seeing Their Lips
Lip reading is a compensation mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the problem. Chances are you won’t even understand you do it before someone points it out or suddenly looks uncomfortable when speaking to you.
The Buzzing Doesn’t Stop
The constant clicking or buzzing or the noise of wind in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that only you hear. For some folks, they are only annoying, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you have that, then you surely have hearing loss you will need to handle.
Hearing problems are not 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 problems that may give rise to the problem such as high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed that can harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.
It is really like assembling the puzzle pieces. When you do come to that conclusion, visit your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for most, it will imply it’s time to consider hearing aids.