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

You may think it would be evident, but hearing loss can be gradual, so how does one know they have it? There’s no stinging pain to function as a danger sign. You do not pass out or make extra trips to the toilet once it occurs, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or heart disease.

Nevertheless, 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.

There is a Change in Conversations

The effect on socializing offers some of the most telling indications. As an example, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not comprehending words well. Questioning people that you speak to tell you again what they said is something they’re very likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to how people respond to having discussions with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of people, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You’re missing pieces of what everyone says, thus you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. As time passes, you avoid group conversations or stand there not listening to what’s stated, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

If all you hear nowadays is background noise, then it is time for a hearing test. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss since 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 to you since it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Up

It is easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying box because of a busy room, but when it occurs all the time, it’s probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not like it was once.

You End up Watching Their Lips

Reading lips is a compensation mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be faulty. Your mind might automatically refocus your eyes on the individual’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you won’t even understand you do it before someone points it out or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking to you.

You Hear a Buzz or Ring

It can be a ringing, clicking, buzzing or the noise of breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some people, they are just bothersome, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you have that, then you surely have hearing loss you need to address.

Hearing problems are not always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that may contribute to the problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that can damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

It’s really like assembling the pieces of a puzzle. If you do come to this conclusion, visit your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the worst health issue you could have, but for most, it does mean it’s time to consider hearing aids.

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