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

You may think it would be obvious, but hearing loss tends to be gradual, so how does one know they have it? There’s no sharp pain to function as a danger sign. You do not collapse or make extra trips to the restroom when it happens, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are somewhat more subtle than other age-related illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.

Even so, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change might be having in your life. Consider the ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Conversation

The effect on socialization provides a number of the most telling signals. As an example, if the first thing out of your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t comprehending words well. Asking the people that you talk to repeat what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to the way folks react to having discussions with you.

When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty following along. You are missing bits of what everybody says, so you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everybody talking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you dodge group conversations or stand there not listening to what’s stated, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Background Noise Takes Over

If the only thing you hear nowadays is background sound, then it is time to get a hearing exam. This is a frequent symptom of hearing loss because you’re not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can not hear what people are saying for you since it becomes lost in the background noise.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Up and Up

It’s simple to excuse the need to flip the TV volume up on that dying box because of a busy area, but if it occurs all the time, it is most likely an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else begins telling you that you’ve got the TV or computer volume up too high, you should wonder why that is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing is not as good as it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Watching Their Mouth

Lip reading is a coping mechanism for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of tough sounds. Words that contain specific letters will probably be faulty. Your mind might automatically shift your attention to the person’s lips to repair the issue. It is likely that you don’t even know you do it before somebody tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.

You Hear a Ringing

It can be a ringing, clicking or buzz or the noise of breeze in your ears — medically this is called tinnitus, and it is a warning of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For many folks, they are just bothersome, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you have it, then you most certainly have hearing loss you will need to address.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the person experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical issues that can give rise to this problem like hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that can harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

When you do come to that conclusion, visit your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for most, it will imply it is time to think about hearing aids.