As we get older, it is normal for our hearing to start to fade. Sounds and voices that were once easy to hear become muffled, or we need someone to repeat themselves more often. This may be normal, but you can take steps to catch some of the symptoms of hearing loss and fix it before it worsens.
One in 6 adults in the UK is affected by hearing loss. Paying attention to some of the first signs of reduced hearing will help you fight this ailment and take the necessary steps to improve it. People with untreated hearing loss may feel isolated and depressed and struggle with memory problems later. But what are some of the most common symptoms of hearing loss that you should pay attention to?
There are many symptoms of hearing loss, and the indicators that show up for you may be unique. Recognizing some of these signs early on provides better opportunities to work on improving the situation and taking proper care for prevention. Here are some of the early symptoms that you can detect.
You Struggle to Hear Children’s Voices
When you first experience hearing loss, it may start in the cochlea – this is the inner ear organ that will help you hear. Often the high-pitched sounds will be the first to fail, including children’s voices and women’s. You may also miss your microwave beeps or not notice the crickets chirping as much during sunset as you did before.
When you are around children often and begin to notice that it is harder to understand what they are saying or they have to try several times to get your attention, you should investigate as this could be a sign that your hearing is failing. In that case, getting your ears checked by your doctor can help give you a better idea of how bad the problem is.
Conversations are Difficult in Noisy Places
You may be fine having a conversation at work or in your home, but moving to a loud and noisy place becomes more difficult. You may find yourself asking the other person to repeat themselves or limiting your conversations in these situations because you have no idea what the other person is trying to tell you.
The background noise at restaurants and malls is usually low-pitched. At the same time, many letters we use in our everyday conversations will be high-pitched.
With a hubbub of different sounds, audio sensors can catch more of the low tones of the background noise better than they can the high-pitch of the person speaking next to you. If you struggle to hear some of those high-pitched tones, you should be concerned for your hearing.
Social Events Exhaust You
When you start to experience hearing loss, going to social events can be exhausting. You have to strain in an attempt to hear the other people in the conversation, and there may be a lot of repeating yourself to get the point across. You may worry that others think you are ignoring them, and it is a lot of work to balance conversational duties, leaving you feeling exhausted and tired when you are done with a social event.
When you struggle to hear all the different sounds that come with speech, your brain will work overtime to try to fill in the gaps – this response is meant to help you understand what others are telling you. It takes a lot of focus, especially if you are in a situation where more than one person tries to speak to you at the same time.
Unfortunately, this scenario will worsen as your hearing gives out more. All that effort can make a person feel anxious and wish to avoid social gatherings. If you have recognized these new feelings about conversing with larger groups of people, it is time to speak to your doctor or an audiologist to see which solutions they can provide to you.
You Watch Lips Instead of Listening
You may find that listening to others becomes arduous at some point. This could be due to all of the background noise around you or because your hearing has gotten so bad it is difficult to hear the other person’s words in the conversation. In an effort to still communicate and keep the conversation going, you may find yourself reading people’s lips rather than making eye contact.
When you watch the shape of the other person’s lips while they talk, you can see their sounds, even if you struggle to hear them. You may seem rude for not maintaining eye contact, but it is one way to help keep the communication going until you can see a health professional.
Your Ears Feel Clogged
Another sign to look for is your ears feeling clogged; this can happen when there is fluid in the ears or when they need to be cleaned out.
However, if you visit your doctor and they say your ears are clean, this could be a symptom of hearing loss. Reduced audio sensory receptiveness can make sounds muffled or dull, which can give the same results as a clogged feeling in the ears.
You Keep Turning the TV Volume Up
This is a sometimes harder-to-detect sign that something is wrong with your hearing, but still, one to look out for. When you hear the bass tones in the show better than some of the high tones, it is expected that the effects and music can drown out the speech and make it harder to hear.
If you start to notice that the volume is louder than usual or that others in your home complain that you have the television too loud, then this can be an early sign of your hearing loss.
The Bottom Line
No one wants to experience hearing loss during their lives, but this is a normal aging condition. Recognizing that you struggle with hearing loss and being prepared for it along the way can make a big difference in getting you the treatment you deserve.
Your doctor can provide solutions to minimize and slow the progression of hearing loss, helping you maintain your hearing and quality of life.