If you suffer from hearing loss, you would assume it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s precisely the issue; most people assume it would. However, while severe or sudden hearing loss is easy to recognize, mild to moderate gradual hearing loss can be far too subtle to observe. That’s why, on average, people will wait more than five years from the onset of symptoms to seek out help.
Imagine hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to observe the day-to-day changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.
Unfortunately, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a certain extent restored, but the earlier you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll get back.
So how can you notice the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are some of the hidden signs that indicate you should get a hearing test.
1. Difficulty hearing specific 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.
Don’t get trapped into this mode of thinking. The fact is that hearing loss mostly affects higher-frequency sounds. You might discover that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for example, owing to the higher pitch.
This may possibly lead you to think that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when the reality is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Relying on context to understand
Someone is talking from behind you and you can’t comprehend what they’re saying until you turn around. You have to depend on body language, and possibly lip reading, for additional information used to fill in the blanks.
Speech is composed of an assortment 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 present the the majority of the meaning yet are the most difficult to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is comparable to reading a sentence with missing letters. More often than not, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself responding inappropriately or requesting people to repeat themselves often. You may also experience difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy environments
With mild hearing loss, you can typically decode what others are saying, albeit with lots of effort. As soon as background noise is introduced, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You might find that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in loud environments like restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it exceedingly difficult to concentrate on any single source of sound.
4. Listening Fatigue
Last, you may observe that you’re more tired than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the continuous struggle to hear, together with the effort to understand incomplete sounds, can contribute to serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and ends up being more difficult to treat the longer you wait. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly suggest scheduling a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can preserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.