You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how does one know they have it? There’s no shooting pain to function as a danger sign. You don’t lose consciousness or make extra trips to the bathroom when 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 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 some ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.
A Shift in Communication
The impact on socializing offers a number of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first thing from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words well. Questioning people you talk to repeat what they said is something they’re likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way folks respond to having conversations with you.
When speaking to a group of two or more individuals, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You’re missing pieces of what everyone says, thus you are not part of the conversation. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you avoid group discussions or stand there not understanding what is said, since it’s just too confusing once you do.
The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out
If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it is time for a hearing exam. This is a common sign of hearing loss because you are no longer able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can not hear what people are saying for you because it becomes lost in the background noise.
The TV Volume Creeps Up and Upward
It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying box because of a noisy room, but when it occurs 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 too loud, you need to wonder why that is, and, probably, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not like it was at one time.
You End up Watching Their Lips
Lip reading is a coping skill for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the individual’s lips to repair the issue. It is likely that you don’t even understand you do it before somebody points it out or unexpectedly acts uncomfortable when speaking to you.
Then There is the Buzzing
You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of a breeze in your ears — that is called tinnitus, and it’s a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom noises that only you hear. For many people, they are just bothersome, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have that, then you most surely have hearing loss that you will need to address.
Hearing problems are not always obvious to the person suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical problems that may give rise to the problem like hypertension or medication you take that can damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.
If you do come to this conclusion, visit your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for many, it does imply it is time to think about hearing aids.