Woman suffering from hearing loss struggling to hear on the phone.

You don’t suddenly lose your hearing one day when you wake up. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even recognized until after the age of 75. You might not detect the trouble immediately even though some symptoms show up earlier.

The initial symptoms of progressive hearing loss are subtle. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. However, if you don’t know what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. Consider these eight barely noticeable clues that you might have hearing loss.

1. Ears Ringing

Okay, this isn’t really a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a common sign of hearing loss.

The ringing can be intermittent and only act up when triggered. Perhaps the ringing only occurs when your tired or in the morning for instance.

It’s important that you don’t ignore tinnitus because it is a symptom that something is happening with your body. It may be hearing loss, but it could also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. If you want to know for sure, you will need to consult your doctor.

2. Talking on The Phone is Stressful

Here are some common excuses for phone issues:

  • I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
  • I’m not used to my phone’s newer technology yet.
  • My phone is old.

If you dislike talking on the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is all the way up and you still can’t hear it. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing issue.

3. These Days it Seems Like Everyone Mumbles

Lately, it’s not only your kids, but also your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have started to mumble to you. It’s hard to believe that everyone in your life suddenly has poor enunciation.

The more likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the initial indications that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants such as “S” and “T” drop off.

4. What?

You might not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are having difficulties hearing. Pay attention if someone comments on it.

5. You Hear Some People Just Fine But Not Others

Maybe you can hear the neighbor perfectly, but when his wife starts talking, everything gets messed up. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or injury to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a common symptom.

Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same problem. Even when you are in normal situations, something as basic as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things complicated. Those sounds are also high pitched.

6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun

Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when it’s noisy. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start talking around you or the AC pops on.

7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired

It’s can be draining struggling to comprehend what people are saying. You are more exhausted than usual because your brain is working harder to manage what it hears. You may even observe changes in your other senses. If your brain is utilizing 110 percent of its time and energy to comprehend words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back okay.

8. That Dang TV

It’s easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep turning up the volume, but if this is happening all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing exam. It can be hard to hear people talking on TV shows when you have loss of hearing. There is the background music confusing things, for instance. What about the other stuff in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? Your hearing is most likely starting to fail if you need to keep turning up the volume.

A professional hearing exam will tell you for sure and that’s the good news. If it turns out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.