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

It might seem like it’d be obvious, but hearing loss can be gradual, so how does someone know they have it? There’s no sharp pain to serve as a warning sign. You do not pass out or make extra trips to the restroom once 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 indicators if you know to look for them. It’s a matter of paying attention to the way you hear and the effect any change might be having in your life. Consider some ways you’re able to identify hearing loss for you or someone you care about.

Social Engagements are Work

The effect on socialization provides some of the most telling indications. For instance, if the first word from your mouth through most discussions is “what?” That shows you aren’t understanding words easily. Asking the people that you talk to tell you again what they said is something they’re likely to notice before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks respond to having discussions with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you may have trouble keeping track of things. You are missing bits of what everyone says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can not ask everybody talking to echo themselves, either, so you just get lost. Over time, you avoid group conversations or stand there not listening to what’s stated, because it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it’s time to get a hearing test. This is a common sign of hearing loss because you’re no longer able to filter out sounds just like a fan blowing or an air conditioner running. It gets to the point where you can not hear what folks are saying for you because it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Upward

It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on that dying set because of a noisy room, but if it occurs all the time, it’s probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everyone else starts telling you that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why that is, and, likely, come to terms with the fact that your hearing isn’t like it had been at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Lips

Lip reading is a coping skill for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the reduction of tough sounds. Words that contain certain letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically shift your eyes to the individual’s lips to fix the problem. It is likely that you do not even know you do it until someone tells you or suddenly acts uncomfortable when speaking with you.

Then There is the Buzzing

It can be a ringing, clicking or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it is an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For some folks, they are only bothersome, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got it, then you most certainly have hearing loss that you need to address.

Hearing problems are not always evident to the person suffering from them, but it is 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 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.

It is really like putting pieces of a puzzle together. When you do come to this decision, see your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss isn’t a catastrophe, but for most, it will mean it’s time to consider hearing aids.