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

You may think it’d be evident, but hearing loss tends to be slow, so how can someone know if they have it? There’s no stinging pain to function as a warning signal. You do not pass out or make extra trips to the toilet once it occurs, either. It’s 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 should you know what to look for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the impact any change could be having in your life. Consider the ways you can identify hearing loss for you or somebody you love.

A Change in Speech

The impact on socializing provides some of the most telling indications. For instance, if the first word out of your mouth during most conversations is “what?” That shows you are not understanding words easily. Questioning people that you talk to tell you again what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so pay attention to how folks respond to having a chat with you.

When speaking to a group of a couple of individuals, you may have difficulty keeping track of things. You are missing pieces of what each person says, so you are not connecting the dots anymore. You can’t ask everyone talking to echo themselves, either, so you only get lost. Over time, you hide from group discussions or stand there not listening to what’s said, since it’s just too confusing once you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

If the only thing you hear these days is background sound, then it’s time for a hearing exam. This is a common symptom of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds like a fan blowing off or an air conditioner operating. It gets to the point at which you can’t hear what folks are saying to you because it becomes lost in the background sound.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Up

It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this dying set because of a busy area, but when it occurs all the time, it’s most likely a sign of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts telling you that you have the TV or computer volume up too high, you need to wonder why that is, and, likely, conclude that your hearing is not like it was at one time.

You Find Yourself Seeing Their Mouth

Reading lips is a compensation technique for missed words. Gradual hearing loss begins with the loss of hard sounds. Words that contain certain letters will probably be incomplete. Your mind might automatically refocus your eyes on the person’s lips to fix the problem. Chances are you won’t even know you do it until someone tells you or unexpectedly acts uncomfortable when talking with you.

Then There’s the Clicking

It can be a ringing, clicking or buzzing or the sound of the breeze in your ears — this is called tinnitus, and it is a sign of significant hearing loss. These sounds are not real, but phantom noises that just you hear. For many folks, they are only annoying, but for others tinnitus is painful. If you have it, then you certainly have hearing loss you will need to handle.

Hearing problems aren’t always obvious to the individual experiencing 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 may give rise to the problem such as hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that can harm your ears and find out if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

It is really like assembling the pieces of a puzzle. If you do come to that decision, visit your health care provider and receive a professional hearing test for affirmation. Hearing loss is not the worst health issue you could have, but for many, it will mean it is time to think about hearing aids.

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