Hearing is not something you lose overnight. For most adults, a loss of hearing comes gradually, particularly as you get older. Hearing loss among Americans is much more widespread than most people realize. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people. Many of these people are well into their seventies before they even notice this change since it is so gradual. But, some signs can show up before it gets to this more advanced stage.
These gradually oncoming symptoms of hearing loss are very subtle. To slow down the progression of your hearing loss, it is vital that you recognize these symptoms as soon as possible. Here are seven early warning signs that may help you identify a problem as quickly as possible.
1. Excessive ringing in your ears
The medical name for ringing in your ears is Tinnitus, and it is a prevalent indicator of hearing loss with older adults. It is common to disregard or ignore Tinnitus if it is not too bothersome or is very subtle. The ringing can come and go, or only be noticeable when triggered in some manner. For example, the issue can happen at certain times of the day due to fatigue or high blood pressure. Another common cause can be due to hypertension, trouble with circulation, and any trauma.
2. People seem to be mumbling all the time
Does it seem like everyone around you mumbles their words? Maybe it’s a family member or neighbor, or even people on television. If everyone seems unable to enunciate clearly, it could a sign of early-stage hearing loss. If you notice individual letters dropped off like ‘S’ or ‘T,’ it could be one of the first signs that there is a change to your hearing.
3. You say ‘what’ all the time
People often may not even realize they are having trouble hearing conversations until a friend or loved one points out that they say ‘what’ or ‘what did you say’ all the time. If this is something you start noticing with your family or co-workers, it could be another early warning sign of progressive hearing loss.
4. Going out is not as much fun as it used to be
Maybe it is harder to carry on a conversation in a restaurant, or harder to make out the dialog of a movie. Noisy venues such as restaurants, parties, or other events can lose their appeal if you struggle with your hearing. This problem may first manifest itself as a lack of interest when the real reason could be your struggle to hear clearly.
5. You can’t hear some people very well, but others you can hear fine
Do you notice that you can’t hear your wife very well, but your next-door neighbor sounds just fine? Sensorineural hearing loss is a widespread problem where there is damage to the nerves that send the all-important electrical messages to your brain. The reason why one person’s voice is less clear is that it is a higher pitch, and you can pick up specific ranges of sound better than others. If you can’t hear your grandchild, but your favorite Lou Rawls album is clear as a bell, that could be the issue!
6. The TV volume does not work correctly
Do you find yourself raising the television volume more and more? Do people walk into the room and immediately complain about how loud the sound is? It is understandable to blame the TV, but it probably is yet another sign of possible hearing loss. If there is music playing on the television behind the dialog, is it harder to hear the words? Maybe a fan or an AC unit makes it harder to listen to the TV. If you keep raising the volume, it’s time to call the doctor, not the TV repairman!
7. You feel tired frequently
You may not associate fatigue with hearing loss, but to continually focus on someone’s conversation can be exhausting for your brain, as it has to work extra hard to comprehend a simple conversation. This can also affect other senses since your brain is working so hard to focus on just hearing.
Do you experience any of these symptoms? If so, then it is time for you to make an appointment for a professional hearing exam. A hearing specialist can diagnose your problem and suggest the best solution. The good news is there are many ways to remedy hearing loss, including hearing aids that will get your hearing back to normal.