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

It’s not like you simply wake up one morning, and your hearing is gone. For most people, hearing loss comes in degrees, especially when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Many of them are over the age of 75 before they notice a change. Some symptoms show up sooner, though, and you don’t realize there is an issue right away.

The early signs of gradual hearing loss are subtle. 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’re not sure 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

This is a symptom that people tend to neglect if it doesn’t become too disruptive and it’s actually not that subtle. The medical name for this ringing is tinnitus, a typical sign of hearing loss.

Triggers are a considerable factor in tinnitus so it can be periodic, too. As an example, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.

Tinnitus is a sign that something else is happening with your body so it should never be ignored. It may be hearing loss, but it could also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for certain until you see your doctor, though.

2. You Dread Talking on The Phone

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

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

If you hate using the phone consider the reasons why. If you turn the volume all the way up and can’t comprehend what is being said, let someone else test the phone for you. If you can’t hear the conversation but they can then you have a hearing problem.

3. These Days it Seems Like Everyone Mumbles

It used to be only the kids, but recently, the news anchor, your neighbor, and your spouse all have taken to mumbling when they speak to you. It’s difficult to imagine that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.

The more 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 indications that your hearing is changing.

4. What Did You Say?

You might not even realize that you can’t hear conversations any more until somebody points out that you say “What? a lot. Usually, the first to notice you have hearing loss are people close to you like coworkers or family members. Pay attention if someone comments on it.

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

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

Her voice isn’t as clear because it’s a higher pitch. Your daughter or grandchild may present the same problem. Even things like the microwave or an alarm can be a problem. Those tones are also high pitched.

6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be

Again, there are those mumbling people, and that’s not fun. Also, being in noisy places makes understanding what people say a big challenge. Something as routine as the AC coming on during dinner or the sound of people conversing around you makes it impossible to hear anything.

7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired

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

8. That Dang TV

Rather than blaming the service provider when you need to keep cranking the TV up, consider getting a hearing test. It can be hard to hear the dialog on TV shows when you have loss of hearing. For instance, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound unclear. What about the other sounds in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? If the volume keeps going up, then your hearing may be failing.

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