A man is unable to hear or see and is surrounded by question marks.

It might seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does one know they have it? There’s no stinging pain to serve as a danger sign. You do not pass out or make a few more trips to the toilet when it happens, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.

Even so, there are indicators if you know to look for them. It’s a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change could be having in your life. Consider the ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.

A Shift in Communication

The effect on socializing offers a number of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first thing out of your mouth during most discussions is “what?” That shows you are not comprehending words easily. Asking the people you talk to repeat what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how people react to having conversations with you.

When speaking to a group of two or more individuals, you may have difficulty following along. You’re missing parts of what each person says, so you aren’t part of the conversation. You can not ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you limit group conversations or stand there not listening to what is stated, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out

If the only thing you hear nowadays is background sound, then it’s time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent sign of hearing loss since you’re no longer able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing or an air conditioner running. 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 Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop

It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on this tired set because of a noisy room, but when it happens every day, it’s probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why this really is, and, likely, conclude that your hearing isn’t as good as it was once.

You End up Watching Their Mouth

Reading lips is a compensation mechanism for missing words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you won’t even understand you do it before somebody tells you or suddenly seems uncomfortable when talking to you.

Then There is the Ringing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the noise of wind in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that only you hear. For some people, they are just annoying, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have it, 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’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, too, other medical problems that may contribute to the problem such as high blood pressure 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 that conclusion, visit your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for many, it will imply it’s time to think about hearing aids.

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