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

It might seem like it would be evident, but hearing loss tends to be gradual, so how can one know they have it? There is no sharp pain to function as a danger sign. You do not lose consciousness or make a few more trips to the bathroom when it happens, either. It is safe to say the symptoms of hearing loss are more subtle than other autoimmune disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Even so, there are indicators if you know what you’re looking for. It is a matter of paying attention to how you hear and the effect any change could be having in your life. Take the time to consider the ways you can pinpoint hearing loss for you or someone you care about.

Conversations are Strained

The impact on socializing provides some of the most telling signs. As an example, if the first word from your mouth through most conversations is “what?” That should be a sign you aren’t understanding words easily. Asking the people that you speak to repeat what they said is something they are likely to detect before you do, too, so listen to how folks react to having a chat with you.

When speaking to a group of two or more people, you might have difficulty following along. You’re missing bits of what everyone says, so you are not part of the conversation. You can not ask everyone talking to repeat themselves, either, so you only get lost. As time passes, you dodge group conversations or stand there not understanding what’s said, since it’s just too confusing when you do.

The Little Everyday Sounds Takes Over

If the only thing you hear these days is background noise, then it is time for a hearing test. This is a common sign of hearing loss because you are not able to filter out sounds 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 noise.

The TV Volume Goes Up and Upward

It’s simple to excuse the need to turn the TV volume up on this dying box because of a noisy area, but when it occurs every day, it’s probably an indication of gradual hearing loss. When everybody else starts telling you that you have the TV or computer volume too loud, you should wonder why this really is, and, probably, conclude that your hearing isn’t like it had been once.

You Find Yourself Watching Their Lips

Lip reading is a compensation technique for missed words. Gradual hearing loss starts with the loss of hard sounds. Words which contain specific letters will be incomplete. Your brain might automatically refocus your eyes on the individual’s lips to repair the issue. Chances are you don’t even know you do it until somebody tells you or unexpectedly looks uncomfortable when speaking to you.

Then There is the Buzzing

You may hear a clicking, ringing, or buzzing or the sound of breeze in your ears — medically that is called tinnitus, and it’s an indication of significant hearing loss. These sounds aren’t real, but auditory hallucinations that only you hear. For many folks, they are just annoying, but for many others tinnitus is debilitating. If you’ve got it, then you most certainly have hearing loss that you will need to handle.

Hearing problems aren’t always evident to the individual experiencing them, but it’s to others. Listen to what your loved ones are telling you about your hearing loss. Consider, too, other medical problems that may contribute to this problem like hypertension or medication you have been prescribed that could harm your ears and discover if age-related hearing loss runs in your family.

When you do come to that conclusion, see your health care provider and get a professional hearing test for confirmation. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world, but for most, it will mean it is time to think about hearing aids.