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

You may think it’d be obvious, but hearing loss can be slow, so how can one know they have it? There is no stinging pain to function as a warning sign. You don’t collapse or make unnecessary trips to the restroom once it happens, either. It’s safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Nevertheless, there are indications if you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the impact any change could be having in your life. Take the time to consider the ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Speech

The effect on socialization provides some of the most telling signs. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth during most discussions is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t 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 conversations with you.

When talking in a group of a couple of individuals, you might have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing bits of what everybody says, thus you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everybody speaking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. As time passes, you avoid group discussions or stand there not listening to what’s stated, because it is just too confusing when you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

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

The TV Goes Up and Up and Up

It’s easy to blame the need to flip the TV volume up on that tired box because of a noisy area, but if it happens every day, it is probably an indication of a gradual hearing loss. When everybody else begins complaining that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you need to wonder why this really is, and, likely, conclude that your hearing isn’t like it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Mouth

Reading lips is a compensation technique for missing words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of tough sounds. Words which contain certain letters will be faulty. Your mind might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the issue. Chances are you don’t even understand you do it until someone tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking to you.

You Hear Noises

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom sounds that just you hear. For some folks, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got that, then you most surely have hearing loss you need to address.

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. Consider, also, other medical problems that may contribute to the problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could harm your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

When you do come to that decision, visit your doctor and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world, but for many, it does imply it’s time to consider hearing aids.