If you suffer from hearing loss, you might think it would be obvious, right?
Well, that’s exactly the issue; most people believe it would. Unfortunately, while severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to identify, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be far too subtle to detect. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the onset of symptoms to search for help.
Think of hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to perceive the everyday changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.
Unfortunately, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be partially restored, but the earlier you deal with your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll restore.
So how can you detect the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are several of the hidden signs that suggest you should consider a hearing test.
1. Difficulty hearing certain sounds
Commonly people assume that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you presume you can hear all sounds normally.
Do not get trapped into this manner of reasoning. The fact is that hearing loss predominantly impacts higher-frequency sounds. You might observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, due to the higher pitch.
This may lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when in reality, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to comprehend speech
Somebody is talking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying unless you turn around and face them. You have to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for additional information to fill in the blanks.
Speech is composed of an array of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the lower frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants convey the the majority of the meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is similar to reading a sentence with missing letters. Normally, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself responding inappropriately or requesting people to repeat themselves frequently. You might also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy surroundings
With mild hearing loss, you can generally understand what others are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is introduced, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You might find that it’s difficult to hear in group settings or in loud environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it exceedingly difficult to concentrate on any one source of sound.
4. Mental Exhaustion
Last, you may observe that you’re more exhausted than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For people with hearing loss, the persistent struggle to hear, together with the effort to grasp incomplete sounds, can produce severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more complicated to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only mild, we strongly suggest arranging a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can conserve your hearing and stay connected to your family and friends.