If you suffer from hearing loss, you might imagine it would be obvious, right?
Actually, that’s exactly the problem; most people presume it would. Unfortunately, while severe or abrupt hearing loss is easy to recognize, mild to moderate developing hearing loss can be far too subtle to notice. That’s why, on average, people will wait five years or longer from the onset of symptoms to search for help.
Think of hearing loss as a slow leak in a tire. It’s difficult to notice the daily changes, and it’s only when the tire goes flat, and your car is no longer drivable, that you decide to act.
Unfortunately, whereas tires are replaceable, your hearing is not. It can be to some extent restored, but the earlier you treat your hearing loss the more of your hearing you’ll recoup.
So how can you determine the signs and symptoms of early-stage hearing loss? The following are several of the hidden signs that indicate you should get a professional hearing assessment.
1. Trouble hearing specific sounds
Commonly people believe that hearing loss impacts all types of sounds. Therefore, if you can hear some sounds normally, you assume you can hear all sounds normally.
Don’t get trapped into this manner of thinking. The reality is that hearing loss principally impacts higher-frequency sounds. You might observe that you have particular difficulty hearing the voices of women and children, for instance, because of the higher pitch of their voices.
This may lead you to think that the people you can’t hear are mumbling, when the fact is, you have high-frequency hearing loss.
2. Depending on context to comprehend speech
Somebody is speaking from behind you and you can’t understand what they’re saying until you turn around and face them. You are forced to rely on body language, and possibly lip reading, for extra information to fill in the blanks.
Speech consists of a wide range of frequencies, from low to high, with consonants representing the high frequencies and vowels representing the low frequencies. The issue for those with high-frequency hearing loss is that consonants communicate the most meaning yet are the most challenging to hear.
If you have hearing loss, speech comprehension is like reading a sentence with missing letters. Normally, you’ll get it right, but when you don’t, you may discover yourself responding inappropriately or asking people to repeat themselves constantly. You may also have difficulty hearing on the phone.
3. Difficulty hearing in busy settings
With mild hearing loss, you can usually understand what others are saying, albeit with a lot of effort. Once background noise is presented, however, the task often becomes overwhelming.
You may find that it’s overwhelming to hear in group settings or in loud environments like at restaurants or parties. The competing sounds and background noise are muffling your already affected hearing, making it extremely difficult to concentrate on any one source of sound.
4. Listening Fatigue
Last, you may observe that you’re more tired than normal after work or after participation in group settings. For individuals with hearing loss, the chronic struggle to hear, combined with the effort to comprehend incomplete sounds, can produce severe exhaustion, which is a non-obvious sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is gradual and becomes more complicated to treat the longer you delay. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, even if they’re only minor, we strongly suggest arranging a hearing test. By taking action earlier, you can conserve your hearing and stay connected to your loved ones.