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

It may seem like it would be obvious, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how can one know if they have it? There’s no shooting pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t lose consciousness or make unnecessary trips to the bathroom once it occurs, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.

Even so, there are indicators if you know what you’re looking for. It’s a matter of paying attention to how 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.

Conversations Aren’t the Same

The effect on socialization provides some of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first word from your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you are not comprehending words easily. Asking the people that you talk to tell you again what they said is something they’re very likely to notice before you do, too, so listen to how people react to having conversations with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of people, you may have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing parts of what everyone says, thus you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you avoid group discussions or stand there not understanding what’s said, since it is just too confusing when you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Take Over

If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it is time to get a hearing test. This is a common sign 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 where you can not hear what folks are saying to you since it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Doesn’t Stop

It is easy to blame the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying set because of a noisy room, but when it happens every day, it is probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else begins complaining that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why this really is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing isn’t as good as it was at one time.

You Find Yourself Watching Their Lips

Reading lips is a compensation technique for missing words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words that contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your eyes to the person’s lips to fix the issue. It is likely that you don’t even understand you do it until someone tells you or unexpectedly seems uncomfortable when talking with you.

Then There’s the Clicking

It can be a ringing, clicking or buzz or the noise 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 auditory hallucinations that just you hear. For many folks, they are only bothersome, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have it, then you most surely have hearing loss that you need to handle.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing. Consider, also, other medical problems that may give rise to the problem like high blood pressure or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

It is really like assembling the pieces of a puzzle. If you do come to that conclusion, see your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for many, it will mean it’s time to think about hearing aids.

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