Woman suffering from hearing loss struggling to hear on the phone.

It’s not as if you simply wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, especially when it is related to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Often, the change isn’t even recognized until after the age of 75. Some signs show up earlier, though, and you don’t notice there is an issue right away.

Early hearing loss has gradual and subtle signs. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. However, if you don’t know what the signs are, you can’t recognize them. You may have hearing loss if you have any of these eight barely noticeable indicators.

1. Ears Ringing

Okay, this isn’t exactly a subtle sign, but it is something people tend to ignore unless it’s disruptive. Tinnitus, the medical name for the ringing, is a common symptom of hearing loss.

The ringing can be sporadic and only act up when triggered. For example, maybe the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens when you first get up or when you are tired.

Tinnitus is an indicator that something else is going on with your body so it should never be neglected. Besides hearing loss, tinnitus can be caused by high blood pressure, trauma, or a circulatory problem. You won’t know for sure until you consult your doctor, though.

2. You Hate Talking on The Phone

It’s not hard to make excuses for phone issues like:

  • It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
  • My phone is old.
  • My phone is damaged from being dropped.

If you hate using the phone think about the reasons why. Get someone you know to test the phone for you if the volume is up and you still don’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the issue.

3. It Seems As if Everybody Mumbles These Days

Recently, it’s not only the kids, but your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have begun to mumble to you. Could it actually be true that suddenly everyone in your life has poor enunciation.

The most likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. Mumbling or dropped off consonants such as “S” or “T” is one of the first signs that your hearing is changing.

4. What?

Only after someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you begin to realize that you can’t hear conversations very well anymore. Usually, the people you see every day like coworkers or family are the first to recognize you are struggling to hear. Pay attention if someone says something about it.

5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much

Perhaps you can understand the neighbor fine, but when his wife joins the conversation, everything gets muddled up. It’s a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss or damage to the nerves that send electrical messages to the brain.

Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it’s not as clear. You might have the same issue with your grandchild or daughter. Even technology like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those tones are high pitched, also.

6. Going Out Used to be a Lot More Fun

Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, it’s much more difficult to understand what people are saying when it’s noisy. Something as routine as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people chatting around you makes it impossible to hear anything.

7. You Never Used to Feel This Tired

Battling to understand words is tiring. Your brain has to work extra hard to manage what it does hear, so you are more tired than normal. Your other senses might also experience changes. What’s left for your other senses when your brain is working at 110 percent of its energy to comprehend words? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye exam came back normal.

8. You Can’t Hear The TV

Rather than blaming the service provider when you have to keep cranking the TV up, think about getting a hearing exam. When you have loss of hearing it can be hard to hear dialog. There is the background music confusing things, for instance. How about the other sounds in the room such as the AC or the ceiling fan? Your hearing is most likely starting to fail if you have to keep turning the volume up.

The good news is all it takes to know for sure is a professional hearing exam. If you find out you have a hearing problem, hearing aids will get things back to normal.