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

You may think it’d be evident, but hearing loss will be gradual, so how does someone know if they have it? There is no sharp pain to function as a warning signal. You do not pass out or make unnecessary trips to the bathroom when it happens, either. It is safe to say the signs of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Nevertheless, there are indications if you know to look for them. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change might be having on your life. Consider the ways you’re able to pinpoint hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Conversation

The impact on socializing offers some of the most telling signals. For instance, if the first thing out of your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That shows you are not comprehending words well. Asking the people you speak to tell you again what they said is something they are very likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to the way folks react to having discussions with you.

When speaking to a group of two or more individuals, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You are missing pieces of what everybody says, thus you aren’t part of the conversation. You can’t ask everyone speaking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you avoid group conversations or stand there not listening to what is said, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

Background Noise is All You Hear

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

The TV Creeps Up and Doesn’t Stop

It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this tired box because of a busy room, but when it occurs every day, it’s probably a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why this really is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t as good as it had been at one time.

You End up Watching Their Lips

Reading lips is a coping skill for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of tough sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your attention into the person’s lips to repair the problem. It is likely that you don’t even understand you do it until somebody tells you or suddenly looks uncomfortable when talking with you.

Then There’s the Ringing

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

Hearing problems are not always obvious to the individual suffering from them, but it is to others. Listen to what your family is telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical problems that may contribute to the problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could damage your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss is a hereditary problem you should be worried about.

When you do come to this decision, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss is not the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it does mean it is time to consider hearing aids.