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

You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how does one know if they have it? There is no stinging pain to function as a danger sign. You don’t pass out or make additional trips to the toilet once it happens, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.

Nevertheless, there are indicators if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change might be having on your life. Consider some ways you can identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.

A Shift in Conversation

The effect on socializing provides some of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first thing from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you aren’t understanding words easily. Questioning people you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how people respond to having discussions with you.

When talking in a group of two or more people, you might have difficulty following along. You’re missing parts of what everybody says, thus you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody speaking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you hide from group discussions or stand there not understanding what is said, because it is just too confusing when you do.

The Background Noise Takes Over

If the only thing you hear these days is background sound, then it is time to get a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off 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 Goes Up and Doesn’t Stop

It’s easy to blame the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying set because of a noisy room, but if it happens every day, it is probably an indication of a gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts telling you that you’ve got 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 is not like it had been once.

You End up Seeing Their Lips

Reading lips is a compensation technique for missing words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of tough sounds. Words that contain certain letters will probably be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to repair the problem. It is likely that you don’t even know you do it before somebody points it out or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.

Then There is the Ringing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of wind in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it’s a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some folks, they are only annoying, but for many others tinnitus is painful. If you’ve got it, then you certainly have hearing loss you need to handle.

Hearing problems are not always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical problems that may contribute to the problem like high blood pressure 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.

It is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. If you do come to this conclusion, see your doctor and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it does mean it is time to consider hearing aids.

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