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

You may think it’d be evident, but hearing loss will be slow, so how can one know they have it? There’s no stinging pain to function as a warning signal. You do not collapse or make additional trips to the bathroom once it happens, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Even so, there are indicators should you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change could be having on your life. Take the time to consider the ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.

A Change in Communication

The impact on socializing provides a number of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first thing out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people you speak to repeat what they said is something they’re very likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to the way people respond to having a chat with you.

When talking in a group of two or more individuals, you might have difficulty following along. You’re missing pieces of what everybody says, so you aren’t connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you dodge group discussions or stand there not listening to what is stated, because it is just too confusing when you do.

The Background Noise Takes Over

If all you hear these days is background noise, then it is time for a hearing test. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point where you can’t hear what people are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Goes Up and Upward

It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this tired box because of a noisy room, but if it happens all the time, it is probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts complaining that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing is not as good as it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips

Reading lips is a coping mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of hard sounds. Words that contain specific letters will be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your attention to the individual’s lips to repair the problem. It is likely that you won’t even know you do it before somebody tells you or unexpectedly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.

Then There’s the Buzzing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For some people, they are only bothersome, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got it, then you certainly have hearing loss that you need to handle.

Hearing problems aren’t 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 can contribute to this problem such as high blood pressure or medication you take that can damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem for you.

It’s really like putting pieces of a puzzle together. When you do come to this decision, see your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for many, it does mean it’s time to think about hearing aids.

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