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

It might seem like it’d be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how can someone know if they have it? There’s no shooting pain to serve as a danger sign. You don’t pass out or make additional trips to the toilet once it occurs, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or heart disease.

Even so, there are indications if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change could be having on your life. Consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you care about.

You Notice a Change in Your Conversations

The effect on socializing offers some of the most telling indications. For instance, if the first thing from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t comprehending words well. Asking the people you speak to repeat what they said is something they’re very likely to notice before you do, too, so pay attention to the way people react to having discussions with you.

When talking in a group of two or more people, you might have trouble following along. You are missing pieces of what everyone says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everyone talking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you hide from group discussions or stand there not understanding what’s stated, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Background Noise Drowns Everything Out

If all you hear these days is background sound, then it is time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent sign of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Creeps Up and Upward

It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that tired set because of a noisy area, but if it occurs all the time, it is most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why that is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t like it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips

Reading lips is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the reduction of tough sounds. Words which contain certain letters will probably be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to repair the problem. It is likely that you don’t even understand you do it before somebody points it out or unexpectedly looks uncomfortable when talking with you.

Then There is the Ringing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For some people, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you most certainly have hearing loss you need to address.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical issues that can contribute to the problem such as hypertension or medication you take that can harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

When you do come to that decision, see your doctor and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for many, it does mean it’s time to consider hearing aids.

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