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

It’s not as if you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. For most people, loss of hearing comes in degrees, especially when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Many of them are over the age of 75 before they notice a change. You might not detect the trouble right away even though some signs show up earlier.

The early signs 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. You can’t identify the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. Consider these eight barely noticeable indicators that you might have hearing loss.

1. Ears Ringing

This is one that people tend to ignore if it doesn’t get too distracting and it’s really not very subtle. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a typical indication of hearing loss.

The ringing can be sporadic and only act up when triggered. Maybe the ringing only takes place when your tired or when you first get up for instance.

Tinnitus is a sign that something else is going on with your body so it should never be ignored. It could be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for sure until you consult your doctor, though.

2. You Hate Talking on The Phone

Here are some common excuses for phone problems:

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

If you dislike using the phone think about the reasons why. If you have the volume all the way up and can’t understand what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing issue.

3. These Days it Seems As if Everyone Mumbles

Recently, 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 you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.

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

4. What?

You may not even recognize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people you see every day like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone says something about it.

5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much

Maybe when you are having a conversation with the neighbor everything sounds okay but when his wife joins in you can’t make out a word. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.

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

6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Once Was

Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, being in noisy places makes understanding what people say a big challenge. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start chatting around you or the AC pops on.

7. You Feel More Tired Than Normal

Struggling to comprehend words is fatiguing. Your brain has to work overtime to manage what it does hear, so you are more tired than usual. You may even notice changes in your other senses. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to comprehend words? If your last eye exam was normal, then the next thing to get tested is your ears.

8. That Dang TV

Instead of accusing the service provider when you need to keep cranking the TV up, think about getting a hearing test. When you have loss of hearing it can be hard to follow dialog. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. And don’t even mention the AC, ceiling fan or other things in the room. If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing might be faltering.

The good news is all you need to do to know for certain is a professional hearing exam. If you find out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.