You’d think you would know if you were losing your hearing, right? But it turns out that early warning signs of hearing are easy to miss – they are subtle and evolve very slowly, sometimes unnoticeably. Age-related hearing loss is quite common, but your environment plays a part as well. Genetic factors and a lifetime of exposure to loud noises can increase the likelihood of hearing loss. A medical problem could also be the reason. If the following seven signs of hearing loss match your experience, you should see your doctor.
Stress If you’re feeling stressed out because you’re straining to hear what others are saying, it may be an indicator of hearing loss. You may feel annoyed because it’s hard to hear or understand others, and you may be worried about talking to people because they will be hard to understand. In particular, you may withdraw from social situations out of fear that you won’t be able to take part.
Misunderstanding conversation You may find yourself struggling to hear clearly, as if your hearing is “blurred.” It may seem strange because you feel like you’re hearing the words, but when you actually try to put them together, there are content gaps. If you consistently feel like you’re able to hear a conversation but not really “grasp” it, this may be a sign of hearing loss.
You need to turn the TV up more frequently This can happen without you noticing, since it’s a gradual progression. You may notice that the volume on the TV that seems normal for you is too loud for others. If this is the case, you should see your doctor for a hearing check-up.
You have difficulty hearing on the telephone This symptom is a strong indicator that you are experiencing hearing loss. It is easier than other symptoms to recognize, since you probably talk on the phone regularly and are used to a certain volume. If you find yourself straining to hear the person on the other end of the receiver, get your hearing checked out by a doctor.
You feel like those around you are “mumbling.” The first significant complaint among people who are losing their hearing is thinking that people are mumbling. If you feel like those around you are saying things that are indistinct and strangely quiet, this could be a sign of high-frequency hearing loss that people acquire as they get older.
You hear a ringing, roaring or hissing sound frequently If you hear those sounds consistently, it could indicate hearing loss resulting from too much loud noise – a condition known as “noise-induced hearing loss.”
You have trouble hearing when there’s noise in the background You may find yourself avoiding situations with loud noise backgrounds, such as crowded restaurants, because you have trouble hearing people around you speak. This is often an indicator of the beginning stages of hearing loss.