If you have hearing loss, you might assume it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s precisely the issue; many people assume it would. However, while severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to recognize, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be too subtle to observe. That’s the reason why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the onset of symptoms to search for help.
Imagine hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to recognize the day-to-day changes, and it’s only when the tire becomes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to take action.
Regrettably, while tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to a certain extent recovered, but the earlier you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll get back.
So how can you notice the symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? Below are several of the hidden signs that indicate you should get a professional hearing examination.
1. Difficulties hearing particular sounds
Frequently people assume that hearing loss affects all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you believe you can hear all sounds normally.
Don’t get trapped into this mode of reasoning. The truth is that hearing loss predominantly affects higher-frequency sounds. You may observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, due to the higher pitch of their voices.
This may possibly lead you to believe that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when in truth, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Relying on context to understand
Somebody is speaking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around and face them. You have to depend on body language, and potentially lip reading, for supplementary information used to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the higher frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The problem for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants express the the majority of the meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is just like reading a sentence with missing letters. In general,, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may find yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves constantly. You may also have difficulties hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy settings
With mild hearing loss, you can usually decipher what other people are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. As soon as background noise is presented, however, the task usually becomes overwhelming.
You might find that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in loud environments like at restaurants or social gatherings. The contending sounds and background noise are muffling your already compromised hearing, making it extremely difficult to concentrate on any single source of sound.
4. Mental Exhaustion
Finally, you may observe that you’re more fatigued than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For people with hearing loss, the continuous struggle to hear, combined with the effort to comprehend incomplete sounds, can result in serious exhaustion, which is a non-obvious symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is progressive and becomes more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly recommend scheduling a hearing test. By taking action sooner, you can conserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.